UK's £530m rural broadband plan gets go-ahead
20th Nov 2012 | 23:09
Scheme will go where big guns won't
A government scheme to improve broadband in rural areas will now begin in earnest after state-funding was approved by a European Commission.
Back in January, the UK submitted plans for a £530m project that would bring faster internet to the most remote areas of the countryside.
As the project was to be funded by state aid, the government required approval from Brussels, which culture secretary Maria Miller has earned a month ahead of schedule.
The improvements in rural areas are part of the coalition's long-standing plans to give the UK the best broadband network in Europe.
90 per cent superfast
The first areas to benefit from the improved connectivity will be Surrey and Wales, while Cumbria, Rutford, Herefordshire and Gloucestershire will follow, with BT carrying out all of the work.
Mrs Miller MP said: "Britain is in a global race today. To succeed in that race we must have the infrastructure to match our aspiration, providing people who work hard with the tools they need to get on and prosper; this green light will benefit both businesses and communities across the UK.
"Our broadband plans are hugely ambitious – to connect 90 per cent of homes to superfast broadband and ensuring the rest have access to at least 2Mbps. The Government will not allow parts of our country to miss out on the digital age."