Derbyshire councillors welcome £7.3m broadband allocation

Friday, August 19th 2011
The government's broadband funding for Derbyshire has been hailed by local councillors.
Derbyshire councillors welcome £7.3m broadband allocation
Council chiefs in Derbyshire have welcomed the multimillion-pound broadband funding package announced by the government earlier this week.

Derbyshire County Council has been awarded £7.3 million by Broadband Delivery UK to improve broadband provision in the area, where more than a third of homes have no internet connection, according to figures published by Ofcom in July.

A fifth of households across the county receive speeds of less than 2Mbps, the regulator discovered.

The financial support, which was drawn from the £530 million package set aside from the licence fee, is expected to bring faster broadband to more than 188,000 local properties.

Speaking to the Burton Mail, South Derbyshire district councillor Amy Plenderleith said the announcement is "great news" and that the money could help to fill in the gaps left by a separate upgrade to internet services in the Etwall and Hilton areas.

Under these improvement plans, which are due to be carried out next month, eight of the 14 local broadband street cabinets will be upgraded to offer faster broadband services, meaning rural areas such as Sutton-on-the-Hill will miss out.

With the government announcement, Derbyshire may be able to channel more funding towards Sutton-on-the-Hill and other remote locations that would otherwise have been missed, Ms Plenderleith commented.

She added: "There might not be many people live there, but in terms of supporting households and businesses [faster broadband] really is needed."

The news has also been welcomed by Kevin Parkinson, Derbyshire County Council's member for regeneration, who insisted that bringing next-generation access to the area is one of the local authority's "top priorities".

He said the biggest challenge now facing the council is to secure the necessary match funding to make its broadband ambitions a reality.

"We recognise the important role broadband plays in people's everyday lives and the opportunities it brings for businesses to thrive," Mr Parkinson added.

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