Government doles out more broadband cash
The Government has doled out another £50 million from its £530 million broadband pot to three local authorities.
The latest funding will see Wiltshire handed £4m, Norfolk given £15m and Devon and Somerset handed £30m. The areas were three of 18 to apply for the broadband funding, taken from the digital switchover fund, to help the UK get universal 2Mbits/sec broadband by 2015.
The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) said the other 15 bids were likely to eventually get funding “during the current Parliament as their proposals evolve.”
The Government money won’t entirely fund the broadband projects, however. Devon and Somerset councils will contribute £22 million, and are hoping for more funding from the EU and private sector.
“Our plan is to make sure that everyone has access to basic broadband by 2015, with at least 85% of premises having access to superfast broadband speeds and 100% by 2020,” said David Hall, Somerset County Council cabinet member, echoing the Government’s own plans.
Wiltshire Council will invest £16m, but reportedly asked for ten times what the Government provided, leaving it with a rather large gap to fill. Norfolk County Council has pledged to match the £15m it won with its own cash, and expects another £30m in private funding.
The DCMS said it hoped the projects would be up and running by next year.
The Government in October handed funding to broadband projects in North Yorkshire, the Highlands, and Cumbria and the Herefordshire borders, but none of those trials are up and running yet.