The government announces how it will divide the funds announced last year
The UK government has confirmed how it will be allocating the £250 million earmarked for superfast broadband deployment last summer.
Culture Secretary Maria Miller, announced today that under the plans, England will receive £184.34 million, Scotland £20.99 million and Wales £12.11 million, with £7.24 million going to Northern Ireland.
The money will fund specific, local projects, and will be awarded on a matched funding basis, meaning that local authorities will contribute another £250 million to the roll-out budget.
The government hopes the money will help it reach the target of connecting 95 percent of the population to superfast networks by 2017.
“This government’s long-term economic plan is accelerating the roll-out of superfast broadband, to help narrow the digital divide and boost local growth,” Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said of the news. “We are offering additional central government funding to councils who want to work with us to help increase internet speeds for their local residents and local firms.”
The £250 million budget, set aside last year, follows a £1.2 billion investment into the next generation broadband networks already made by the central and local governments.
According to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, the current rural broadband programme will contribute £20 to the economy for every £1 spent on it. The government hopes increased connectivity will lead to the creation of 56,000 new jobs in the UK by 2024.
Over 10,000 homes and businesses are now gaining 30Mbps access to the Internet each week, with this figure expected to reach 40,000 per week by summer this year. At the end of January, the total number of premises that enjoy superfast connectivity stood at 300,000.
The government has also set aside £10 million for alternative infrastructure projects that could connect the remaining five percent of the population, including 4G, fibre and satellite technology. This fund will open on 17 March.
“Superfast Broadband will benefit everyone – whether they need it for work, to do homework or simply to download music or films,” said Miller. “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.”
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