Rural communities across the East of England could be enjoying access to super-fast broadband for the very first time thanks to new funding announced today.
The East of England Development Agency (EEDA) has secured £0.5m through the Regional Development Programme for England (RDPE) to help plug some of the gaps in rural broadband availability.
Local authorities, businesses, social enterprises and charities can all bid for a share of the funding to support community broadband projects. That could be to upgrade existing infrastructure to exceed 2Mbit/sec, or to install new hardware needed to adopt next-generation broadband with speeds of up to 50Mbit/s.
Deborah Cadman, chief executive of EEDA, said: ’The East of England is in real danger of being left in the internet slow lane. Commercial providers overlook us because the return on their investment in rural parts of our region is smaller than in urban areas. Yet the importance of access for us all has never been greater. EEDA’s funding will help to bring some of our rural areas out of broadband “not spots”, giving them access to internet speeds they will have never experienced before.’
David Burch, East of England policy manager for the Federation of Small Businesses, said: ’We welcome the money that EEDA has secured through the RDPE programme. We would encourage business owners to be at the forefront of any bids for funding in their locality.’
To find out more about EEDA’s grants for rural broadband projects or to register your demand for super-fast services, visit www.eeda.org.uk/broadbandgrants.