The Northumberland town of Rothbury has become the first recipient of the Rural Community Broadband Fund and can expect to enjoy some of the fastest broadband speeds.
Three months ahead of schedule, the ‘switching on’ of their cabinet by Environment Minister, George Eustice MP, means that more than 370 homes and businesses in parts of Rothbury can place orders for fibre broadband and enjoy superfast internet speeds from a provider of their choice. Fibre broadband will also become available to 167 premises in the nearly village of Thropton as their first fibre cabinet on Village Farm is also ‘switched on’.
The £20 million Rural Community Broadband Fund was set up to ensure the 10 per cent hardest-to-reach areas of the UK were not left behind in the race for high-speed internet access.
Environment Minister, George Eustice said:
Every rural area deserves a good internet connection. It has the power to transform business prospects and create more rural jobs.
Rothbury is the first of many rural areas to receive superfast broadband under the Rural Community Broadband Fund. It will be a massive benefit to everyone who lives in this area, and I look forward to seeing many more of these projects get off the ground. We are putting in £165 million into unlocking the economic potential of rural areas, and broadband is a key part of that.
The project will transform broadband speeds for the rural community which, in turn, is expected to boost the competitiveness of local businesses and give households better access to on-line public services, entertainment, learning and development. It is part of the wider cross Government initiative to bring superfast connection to 90% of the UK by 2016 and an extra £250 million investment means we will reach 95% of premises by 2017.