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Government reveals areas of England and Scotland to receive rural broadband funding

England to be given £294m and Scotland to get £68.8m

The government has revealed that England and Scotland will receive nearly £363m from a £530m fund to improve broadband in rural areas.

Medway in Kent and Thurrock in Essex along with parts of Dorset, East Sussex and Cumbria are among the areas that have been allocated a share of the funding. In total English counties will receive £294m, while Scotland is to be given £68.8m.

The funding is part of a government initiative to ensure that the UK has the best superfast broadband network in Europe by 2015, with every resident getting access to broadband speeds of 2Mbps, and with 90 percent of the country benefitting from superfast broadband access, which is defined as 24Mbps or above. Around a third of the UK is currently classed as a 'not-spot' or location that at present don't have superfast broadband and is unlikely to see private firms such as BT and Virgin Media rolling-out their infrastructure in the area as its not economically viable.

Wales and Northern Ireland have also been given a share of the £530m pot, which is coming from the portion of the BBC licence fee originally allocated to fund the digital switchover.

Culture secretary Jeremy Hunt, who announced the areas to receive funding, said: "Fast broadband is absolutely vital to our economic growth, to delivering public services effectively, and to conducting our everyday lives. But some areas of the UK are missing out, with many rural and hard-to-reach communities suffering painfully slow internet connections or no coverage at all".

"We are not prepared to let some parts of our country get left behind in the digital age."

It will be up to the local authorities and residents of the areas allocated funding to decide how the money should be spent. They'll have to draw up plans as to how superfast broadband will be delivered and match the funding themselves as well. The Scottish government will be responsible for deciding how their funding will be used.

"I urge all those suffering the frustration of slow internet connections to make it clear to your local elected representatives that you expect them to do what is needed to access this investment and to deliver broadband to your community," Hunt added.


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