Culture Secretary Maria Miller announced today the fund was open for bids. She said the focus is shifting to the hardest to reach premises in Britain as the government’s ambitious broadband programme is already on track to deliver superfast speeds to 95% of the UK by 2017.
The £10 million fund will enable a range of pilot projects to be run, as the Government seeks to include the most remote areas in the broadband transformation taking place across Britain.
Suppliers can submit bids in three different categories:
Technology - seeing whether a technology that works can be used in remote areas
Operating models - trying novel operating models such as joining smaller networks together into a common larger network
Financial - testing innovative public / private funding models that could bring in new investment
Culture Secretary Maria Miller said:
Government’s rollout of superfast broadband is already reaching more than 10,000 homes every week but now we need to focus on the hardest to reach communities.
These pilots will be instrumental in helping us understand how to overcome the challenges of reaching the most remote areas of the UK, and I hope to see a wide range of suppliers coming forward with innovative proposals.
Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander said:
I am delighted that the rollout of superfast broadband across the UK is continuing apace. Government investment in hard to reach areas of the UK will deliver the benefits of a fast and reliable digital communications infrastructure to rural communities, helping to unlock local growth.
Rural Affairs Minister, Dan Rogerson said:
The aim of this fund is to help people living in very remote areas secure the benefits of superfast broadband. Fast and reliable broadband coverage is crucial in building a stronger economy and fairer society for farmers and all rural businesses to be able to compete and grow.
Access the procurement documents