£45m more pledged for rural broadband funding pot

Farmers will be among those to benefit from better broadband following a £45m boost from the government, says Defra minister Lord Gardiner.

Funding for the government’s Rural Broadband Infrastructure Scheme follows a £30m investment announced last year, bringing the total pot available to £75m.

See also: Norfolk village switches on self-build hyperfast broadband

Money will be made available through grants to local authorities in areas where broadband services at speeds of 30Mbps or faster are not available or planned.

The funding will be used to support full fibre wherever possible.

It follows the launch of the government’s Future Telecoms Infrastructure Review which outlined plans to prioritise hard-to-reach rural areas for roll out of full fibre connectivity.

Faster service

Lord Gardiner said: “Rural areas should not be left behind in the connectivity slow lane, missing out on the opportunities high-speed broadband can bring.”

The funding would open up access to faster broadband of at least 30Mbps/second, in some of the most hard to reach areas, he added.

The increased funding for the Rural Broadband Infrastructure Scheme follows a positive response and a high number of applications from local authorities.

Rural economy

It is part of planned investment of at least £3.5bn into the rural economy by 2020, supporting the quarter of businesses in the UK which are based in the countryside.

The scheme is delivered by the Rural Payments Agency.

It supports rural areas which are not scheduled to receive broadband as part of commercial delivery plans or under the government’s superfast broadband programme.

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