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Draft plans for rolling-out superfast broadband need to be submitted to the Government by the end of February.
The Government has allocated money from a £530m fund to each local authority in England to provide 90 per cent of homes and businesses with access to superfast broadband and everyone with access to at least 2Mbps.
Today the Culture Secretary laid out a timetable for local authorities to complete their plans and ensure the UK has the best broadband network in Europe by 2015.
Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport Jeremy Hunt said: “Superfast broadband is fundamental to our future economic success. Businesses need it to grow, the public will need it to access new services.
“Some local authorities will find these to be challenging targets. But I will not allow the UK to fall behind in rolling-out superfast broadband.
“Superfast broadband is simply too important for creating the growth we need to allow the roll-out to be delayed.
“I am confident local authorities will be able to meet the timetable and provide their businesses and residents with the broadband access they need.”
The Government published its strategy for rolling-out broadband in rural areas in December last year and announced how much funding had been allocated to each area in August this year.
Local authorities now have until the end of February next year to submit a draft Local Broadband Plan.
A final plan needs to be agreed with the Government by the end of April. The local authority will need to have match-funding in place with this money coming from their budgets, European programmes or any other source.
The Government cannot guarantee funding will remain available to areas that cannot complete this process by the end of April. The £530m has to be used within the Spending Review period so if projects are not ready in time, the funding may be used elsewhere to help provide the UK with the best broadband network in Europe by 2015.
Once the plans have been approved, the Government will work with local authorities as they prepare for procurement and this work should be completed within a further three months.
The Government will consider running a national procurement for areas not ready by the end of July.
In January we will publish details of the progress made by each local authority.
Notes to Editors
The Government published its broadband strategy Britain’s Superfast Broadband Future in December last year. In August we announced how much each English county had been allocated to help roll-out superfast broadband.
The market will provide superfast broadband to around two thirds of the country. It is essential the whole country shares in the benefits of high-speed internet access. The Government is providing additional funding to make it economically viable for telecoms companies to roll-out broadband to the whole of the UK. Our investment will help provide 90 per cent of homes and businesses with access to superfast broadband and for everyone in the UK to have access to at least 2Mbps.
Ofcom defines ‘superfast broadband’ as broadband with speeds greater than 24 Mbps.
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