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UK government announces next wave of rural broadband deployment

Warwick Ashford

Consumers and businesses in Wiltshire, Norfolk, Devon and Somerset are to benefit from the next phase of the UK government's drive to roll out superfast broadband connections to rural areas.

But in making the announcement, the government said it is committed to providing the best superfast broadband in Europe by 2015 and no local authority need lose out, as it will announce further funding later in the year for every local authority in the country.

The latest phase of the roll-out will be supported by £50m drawn from government's £530m fund earmarked to support the roll-out of superfast broadband to remote areas that are expensive to serve.

Culture secretary Jeremy Hunt said broadband is becoming just as essential to homes and businesses as electricity and telephone lines and it is now only a matter of time before people in these rural areas have access to the connection speeds more commonly associated with towns and cities.

"This is great news for people in Wiltshire, Norfolk, Devon and Somerset, and other councils will soon have the chance to bid for a nationwide funding programme. This is part of our plan for virtually every community in the UK to have access to superfast broadband," he said.

Today's announcement adds three new areas to the existing superfast broadband pilots currently being set up in North Yorkshire, the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, Cumbria and the Herefordshire borders.

Local authorities and their delivery partners were invited to bid for a slice of the £530m funding allocated by the Chancellor of the Exchequer in October's Comprehensive Spending Review.



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