£20m broadband fund deadline extended

THE deadline has been extended for applications to the government's £20m Rural Community Broadband Fund.

Rural communities have just under a month to get their applications in for the final round of the fund.

The deadline for the third and final round of applications has been extended from 24 May until 17 June, giving communities and local authorities extra time to apply for funding.

The joint Defra/Broadband Delivery UK Fund aims to help hard to reach rural communities with limited or no internet, to access superfast broadband to give their businesses and communities a greater opportunity to profit and grow.

So far over 50 applications have been invited to submit final proposals to begin work to bring broadband to their areas.

Communities and local authorities can bid for 50% or more of the total eligible project costs. The money will be used to help them build infrastructures to put broadband in place.

Defra Minister Richard Benyon said: "Rural broadband is crucial to getting the economy moving and businesses growing.Funding is still available and I don't want communities to miss out on this great opportunity."

Superfast broadband was transforming the lives of rural businesses and communities, said Mr Benyon.

It was helping them tap into new markets, get better exposure and save time in their working day.

A whole range of groups acting on behalf of local communities can apply for funding, including social and community enterprises, businesses, community trusts and charities, as well as local authorities.

More information about how to apply can be found via the Rural Development Programme for England website or from the GOV.UK website.

The Rural Community Broadband Fund is part of a £165m package of initiatives Defra is delivering to unlock the economic potential of rural areas.

There have been two previous rounds of funding which closed on 31 January 2012 and 6 July 2012.


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