CLA hails rural super-fast broadband funding allocation

Wednesday, August 17th 2011
The organisation said the £363 million of government broadband funding will be a major boost for rural businesses and residents.
CLA hails rural super-fast broadband funding allocation
The government's decision to award almost £363 million to funding the rollout of super-fast broadband for rural England and Scotland has been hailed by the Country, Land and Business Association (CLA).

Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt revealed £294 million will be allocated to improving broadband connectivity in England, while £68.8 million has been assigned to Scotland.

The money is set to be used to finance the deployment of fast internet services to the one-third of properties that will not be included in private sector improvement work.

Mr Hunt's announcement marked the end of a lengthy campaign from the CLA, which has been calling for public sector money to cover the cost of extending broadband access to the countryside since 2003.

William Worsley, president of the rural rights lobby group, said remote parts of the country are currently "woefully underserved" by any kind of broadband, let alone connections with super-fast speeds.

As a result, he expressed his delight at the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition's recognition that these areas are missing out on the many benefits offered by broadband.

Now the announcement has been made, it is vital that rural communities get in touch with their local authorities and state their case for better internet services, Mr Worsley stated.

The CLA president explained: "Rural residents and businesses must tell their local councils if they are suffering from poor access or no broadband at all and make sure their concerns are listened to.

"Broadband is the key to unlocking the potential of the rural economy and these areas now have the opportunity to grasp the same advantages enjoyed by their urban counterparts."

Under the government's broadband plans, 90 per cent of homes and businesses across the UK will receive access to super-fast services by 2015, with the remainder of properties due to be hooked up to minimum speeds of 2Mbps. 

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