Businesses and homes in England’s remotest spots could benefit from superfast internet as the third round of the £20m Rural Community Broadband Fund opens today.
The fund is part of the joint Defra/Broadband Delivery UK Fund and aims to help hard to reach rural communities with limited or no internet to access superfast broadband, giving rural businesses a greater opportunity to profit and grow.
Environment Minister Richard Benyon said:
“People living and working in remote areas face a range of challenges. Having access to superfast broadband will help people overcome these issues and tap into new opportunities to help grow their businesses.
“By getting people better connected, the Government’s £20m broadband fund will give businesses and a boost and benefit the local economy.”
Communications Minister Ed Vaizey said:
“Communities in the remotest parts of England are just as keen to have superfast broadband as those in urban areas. This funding is available to help deliver all the benefits that come with superfast broadband to those businesses and homes that may otherwise have struggled for access to these levels of speed.”
The announcement comes as Environment Secretary Owen Paterson addresses the annual conference of the Federation of Small Businesses in Leicester, to outline how he is supporting growth in the rural economy.
Mr Paterson’s plans to boost the rural economy include getting more rural communities online, investing in rural tourism and funding to protect homes and businesses from flooding.
The fund is targeted at the 10% hard to reach areas which would not otherwise receive superfast broadband under the Government’s main broadband rollout programme. Communities in these areas can seek funding for projects where they can demonstrate a need for superfast broadband.
Communities can now apply for a grant of more than 50% of the project costs where a need and value for money can be demonstrated.
To apply for Rural Community Broadband Fund visit http://rdpenetwork.defra.gov.uk/funding-sources/rural-community-broadband-fund