Firms in rural parts of Swindon and Wiltshire could benefit from a £250m Government fund to install superfast broadband in hard-to-reach areas.
The money was announced today by Culture Secretary Maria Miller, who said it was a key part of the Government’s long-term plan to grow the economy by providing better access to broadband. It will be awarded to local authorities on a match-funded basis.
Some parts of the UK have the poorest broadband connectivity in Europe – despite experts regarding high bandwidth as vital if the country is to compete on a global basis.
The worst affected businesses tend to be those in rural areas – yet they have most to gain from better access to markets. Businesses benefit through the ability to video conference, boost processing power in the IT and so increase productivity.
Swindon and Wiltshire – along with South Gloucestershire – will get £4.97m to invest in rural broadband under the latest funding proposals.
Ms Miller said: “Superfast broadband will benefit everyone – whether they need it for work, to do homework or simply to download music or films.
“Thousands of homes and businesses now have access and it is helping people with their everyday tasks. We want to make sure that Britain is one of the best countries in the world for broadband, and the extra £250m we are investing will help ensure communities around the UK are not left behind in the digital slow lane.”
She said more than 10,000 homes and businesses are now gaining access each week, with this figure expected to reach 40,000 per week by summer this year.