£45m investment in rural broadband

Rural businesses and communities are set to benefit from a £45m package to improve broadband access in the countryside, says the government.

The new funding for the government’s Rural Broadband Infrastructure Scheme adds to the £30m investment announced last year, increasing the total pot of funding available to £75m.

The money will be made available through grants to local authorities that have already applied for funding, in areas where broadband services at speeds of 30Mbps or faster are not available or planned.

The funding will be used to support full fibre wherever possible.

It follows the launch of the government’s Future Telecoms Infrastructure Review which outlined plans to prioritise hard-to-reach rural areas for roll out of full fibre connectivity.

North Yorkshire is one of the local authorities to receive funding through the scheme with a grant offer of over £11 million.

Rural affairs minister Lord Gardiner said: "Rural areas should not be left behind in the connectivity slow lane, missing out on the opportunities high speed broadband can bring.

"The funding made available through the Rural Broadband Infrastructure Scheme champions our countryside communities and businesses by opening up access to broadband of at least 30Mbps, in some of the most hard to reach areas.

The increased funding for the Rural Broadband Infrastructure Scheme followed a positive response and a high number of applications from local authorities, said Lord Gardiner.

It was part of planned investment of at least £3.5bn into the rural economy by 2020, supporting the quarter of UK businesses  based in the countryside.

The scheme is delivered by the Rural Payments Agency and supports those rural areas not scheduled to receive broadband as part of commercial delivery plans or under the Government’s Superfast Broadband Programme.

With nearly a fifth of people living in the countryside, the government says it is important that the needs of rural communities are heard loud and clear across government.


Sign up to our newsletter to receive all the latest news and updates.