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Shropshire Council super-fast broadband strategy wins approval

Friday, January 27th 2012
Work can now commence on Shropshire Council's super-fast broadband project.
Shropshire Council super-fast broadband strategy wins approval
The government has given Shropshire Council permission to push forward with its plan to extend super-fast broadband access across the county.

Recent figures from Ofcom showed just three per cent of Shropshire households were able to access next-generation broadband connectivity, while 18.9 per cent were receiving speeds of less than 2Mbps.

However, the local authority can now set about boosting the quality of broadband services throughout Shropshire after the Conservative-led coalition confirmed it had successfully unlocked £8.2 million of state aid to fund the deployment.

Shropshire was one of four council areas and partnerships to win approval for its broadband strategy yesterday (January 26th 2012), along with Kent and Medway councils, Lincolnshire, and Hampshire, the City of Portsmouth and the City of Southampton.

The future of Shropshire's broadband initiative had looked in doubt after its partner, Telford and Wrekin Council (TWC), pulled out of the project on the grounds that it could not afford to stump up its share of £700,000 after being tasked with making £40 million in budget savings by 2014.

However, the scheme is now back on track after Shropshire Council met with Broadband Delivery UK and Communications Minister Ed Vaizey earlier this week, reports BBC News.

It can now go ahead with the search for a private sector partner to install the necessary infrastructure throughout the county, excluding the town of Telford.

Commenting on the news, Shropshire Council's portfolio holder for IT Martin Taylor-Smith said: "We're seeing broadband for rural areas as being a key part of jobs and creating jobs in the area.

"We see it as vital to the lifeblood and getting the economy in Shropshire up to speed."

Shaun Davies of TWC insisted the council would be in favour of investing the necessary £700,000 to take advantage of the super-fast broadband project, but stressed: "We're not living in an ideal world."

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