Funding to improve rural broadband

A European investment of £700,000 for South West England will be spent on a limited number of pilot projects that will lead to improved broadband access for rural businesses and communities in the region.

The funding comes in the form of a European Economic Recovery Plan award – to help mitigate the impact of the current economic downturn – and is earmarked for upgrading rural broadband.

Ideas are being sought for a limited number of pilot projects that will provide high-speed broadband access for rural areas that are losing out in broadband coverage.

‘This funding is really welcome and we want to make sure that it has the potential to provide maximum benefit to the region’s remote rural areas,’ said Andy Wood at the South West RDA (regional development agency).

Given the need for projects to be substantially complete by the end of next year, the South West RDA, which manages the fund as part of the Rural Development Programme for England, is seeking applications by 15 January, 2010.

More detailed information about the Rural Community Broadband search for pilot projects is available by visiting the Rural Development Gateway website at