Thursday, 10 May 2012 10:08

Rural broadband fund reopens

Written by  Ruralcity Media
Rural broadband fund reopens

RURAL communities have a second chance to apply for rural broadband funding.

It aims to help communities in the remotest areas get superfast broadband to help transform their businesses and the wider community.

Details of how to apply for the Rural Community Broadband Fund are available here. Applications close on 6 July.

Communications minister Ed Vaizey said superfast broadband had the potential to transform remote communities by opening up a world of new opportunities.

"The fund will back those communities working to help themselves by bringing broadband to their homes and helping businesses develop and grow," he said.

Defra's £20 million Rural Community Broadband Fund was now open for applications from the most remote communities, said Mr Vaizey.

It complemented the government's £530 million Broadband Delivery UK programme to provide superfast broadband to 90% of every county.

The Rural Community Broadband Fund allowed for communities in the remaining 10% to develop projects for a superfast broadband connection.

Meanwhile applications are being invited for grants of up to £25,000 to enable businesses to buy new machinery and develop green projects.

The second round of funding under the Farming and Forestry Improvement Scheme will go live on 22 May and close on 17 July. Details of how to apply are available here.

"This is good news for rural communities," said junior Defra minister Jim Paice.

"Farms and businesses that missed out the first time around will get another chance to apply for grants of up to £25,000, which will make a major difference to how they run their business."

Mr Paice said the government was already hearing about the benefits that investment had brought to rural businesses and farms.

"Today, we're transforming the business prospects of many more with new opportunities to get superfast broadband and boost their profits with new technology."

The broadband fund, along with and the Farming and Forestry Improvement Scheme, are part of a £165 million package of initiatives to grow the rural economy.

The government unveiled the package in last autumn's Rural Economy Growth Review.

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