Black Country Gains Extra Broadband Funding

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More funding announced to extend the superfast broadband push in the West Midlands

Residents and businesses in the Black Country in the West Midlands could soon be some of the UK’s fastest surfers, after more funding was announced to extend the availability of superfast broadband in the region.

An additional £12.2m will reportedly extend the reach of superfast broadband to 98 percent of homes and businesses in the region within the next three years.

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The latest tranche of funding has been provided by the government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK), the Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), and BT.

BDUK is providing £2.9m, but the largest amount (£6.4m) comes from BT. The LEP is providing £2.9m.

Fibre, network, broadband © Datskevich Aleh Shutterstock 2012The funds will apparently allow BT Openreach engineers to lay more fibre optic cables in the region and upgrade more than 400 street cabinets.

“Today marks the beginning of an incredible transformation of broadband in the Black Country,” the Culture secretary and Bromsgrove MP Sajid Javid, was quoted as saying by the Birmingham Post.

“Government fully appreciates that access to fast and reliable broadband is no longer a luxury, it is a necessity, which is precisely why we are funding projects like this one all over the UK,” Javid reportedly said. “As a result of this £12m investment, 98 percent of the Black Country will be able to access superfast speeds by 2017 and this will provide a terrific boost to the local economy.”

Earlier this year, an Ofcom report revealed that that the quality of broadband connections still varies greatly according to where you live in the UK, even within urban areas.

Although urban areas tend to have better superfast broadband coverage than rural areas, the Ofcom report discovered that some urban cities and towns do experience slow internet speeds.

Earlier this month the government reminded SMBs in the 22 ‘superconnected cities’ they have until March 2015 to apply for vouchers worth up to £3,000 to cover the cost of installing superfast broadband.

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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