Rural communities setting up their own broadband projects will know exactly how much funding they will receive before they have to spend anything, DEFRA has said.

The department was heavily criticised by a Lords select committee report released on Monday (30 July), which called rural broadband funding plans “ludicrous” and said communities “will only be able to recover the expenditure once they have provided evidence they have paid for it – and even then there is no guarantee.”

Speaking to Farmers Weekly on Wednesday (1 August), a DEFRA spokeswoman denied this was the case.

DEFRA also blamed the EU for forcing communities to raise money up front, with funding paid in arrears.

“In line with the EU regulations, the successful applicants are required to invest in the infrastructure upfront and then claim the funding back.”

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