Northumberland authorities disappointed by broadband funding

Wednesday, August 24th 2011
Northumberland authorities have suggested that the money allocated for internet improvements by Broadband UK will not meet the area's needs.
Northumberland authorities disappointed by broadband funding
Authorities in Northumberland have expressed disappointment at what they believe is an insufficient level of government funding for local broadband improvements.

It was recently announced that the region will receive £7 million from a £530 million pot of cash that is being distributed by the government-established company Broadband UK (BDUK) to enhance connection speeds across the country.

These allocations have been calculated based on the cost of delivering superfast broadband to premises that would not have received it under normal circumstances, but Northumberland County Council's deputy leader Roger Styring believes the amount is not enough.

He told the Berwick Advertiser that the council thinks the grant falls "well short" of what the area requires, adding that the local authority and its partners will now be looking to argue this point.

"Overall we're disappointed with the announcement today ... bringing superfast broadband to Northumberland is the county council's number one regeneration priority and we're already working hard to deliver it," he said.

Earlier this year, Computing magazine reported that the council made a £1.5 million investment in Northumberland to deploy a wireless mesh infrastructure, which is designed to improve broadband access.

This new setup serves 14,000 staff at schools, libraries and businesses in 18 towns and villages and will offer extensive financial benefits.

According to Councillor Styring, the deployment of high-speed broadband across the region is essential to boost education standards and aid the rural economy, which is why the council will continue to work on formulating a new formal funding bid.

The organisation met with BDUK earlier this month to discuss the issue and will aim to bolster any government funding with money generated by itself, from private funds or via European bodies.

"There is cross-party support for this and we are working with a range of people to develop a local broadband plan that will consider all options for the best possible solution for Northumberland," added the councillor.

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