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Northamptonshire UK to Offer Secured Business Loans for Superfast Broadband

Tuesday, November 26th, 2013 (1:46 pm) - Score 569
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The Northamptonshire County Council has today announced the Superfast Northamptonshire Access to Finance (SNAF) initiative, which will complement the local authority’s existing investment of £16.26m with BT under the national Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) scheme by offering secured loans to businesses.

The existing £16.26m Local Broadband Plan (here) aims to “provide world class fibre broadband speeds to 53,000 Northamptonshire homes and businesses” and they’re also aiming for “full countywide coverage by 2017 at next generation access speeds (30 mbps and above)“. But the council believes that more investment will be needed to complete the project and that’s where the SNAF comes in.

Cllr Andre Gonzalez De Savage said:

An enormous amount of work is going on to develop superfast broadband infrastructure in the county, which is absolutely essential if we are going to be able to compete in the global digital economy.

This particular initiative would secure a return on county council investment over a period of time and in doing so make public sector funding work in a smarter way. We asked industry what barriers they faced in delivering infrastructure and access to finance was one of the key factors.”

Eligible firms can expected to be offered secured loans on a commercial basis (i.e. the loans will be secured and repayable with interest) and the chosen suppliers would need to “demonstrate viable business plans and be financially stable, while the technology would need to be scalable, future-proofed, and provide some choice amongst commercial broadband suppliers from which people could buy broadband services“. The SNAF initiative will also promote access line speeds of at least 30Mbps.

The investment would be focused upon “the more difficult, costly or remote areas” where commercial investment alone has yet to reach. A final decision about whether or not to progress the SNAF initiative to full applications will be taken in February 2014.

Leave a Comment
3 Responses
  1. Avatar FibreFred says:

    This sounds like a good approach and one that will allow other tech like wireless hopefully

  2. Avatar JNeuhoff says:

    That’s how it should have been done in the first place, rather than giving all the taxpayer’s money to BT for no ROI.

  3. Would not surprise me though if BT raised legal obections if this went much further as they would not like the “competition”.

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