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New £30 Million Grant Offer to Help Build Rural Broadband Networks

Saturday, July 29th, 2017 (8:02 am) - Score 1,254

The Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) has today announced that an additional £30 million of public investment is being allocated to help rural areas build new 30Mbps+ capable superfast broadband networks in areas where such services are not currently available or planned.

The extra investment forms part of the RDPE’s new £200 million grant offer, which comprises of £30m for rural broadband projects, £45m to help rural businesses grow and invest in new equipment and £120m for projects that improve farm productivity. The grant offer is also expected to create more than 6,000 new jobs overall.

The first grant funding that will become available will be for reservoirs and forestry equipment and these are expected to be open for applications from Monday (31st July 2017), while funding for broadband, rural business support, on-farm food processing, arable and horticultural productivity and resource efficiency will be made available towards the end of 2017.

Lord Gardiner, UK Rural Affairs Minister, said:

“One in three businesses in this country are based in the countryside, and this government is committed to providing the support they need to create a strong and prosperous rural economy.

This funding will make sure businesses in remote locations can get online, help farmers install cutting-edge technology, create new tourist hotspots and bring high quality jobs to rural communities across the country.”

Today’s announcement is part of planned investment of at least £3.5 billion into rural economies by 2020 under RDPE, supporting the third of businesses in the UK which are based in the countryside. “All projects agreed before we leave the EU will be guaranteed for their lifetime – providing stability and certainty while future support for farmers and rural communities is developed“, said the RDPE.

The investment allocated to broadband is also designed to complement the Government’s existing £1.7bn Broadband Delivery UK programme, which suggests that it will most likely be focused on the final 3% of largely rural premises that are not currently planned to benefit from the existing BDUK supported roll-out of fixed line superfast broadband. In that sense it may also help to underpin the proposed 10Mbps+ Universal Service Obligation (USO).

Leave a Comment
5 Responses
  1. Avatar bob says:

    This will go a long way if providers like B4RN are able to make use of this funding. Not so far if the likes of BT take it for their shareholders.

    1. Avatar GNewton says:

      This is not part of BDUK projects. The BDUK has of course been a farce with its wastefulness of taxpayer’s money. I expect the RDPE broadband projects to be different.

  2. Avatar RuralBroadbandSucks says:

    @bob: You know CarlT, FibreFred, and the other BT sub contractors/affiliates/stakeholders on here will be all over you for those comments when they see them.
    For England only, typical! Of course I am in Northern Ireland and because the 2 main parties cannot agree, we are stuck in limbo with nothing being done, and I am at a postcode with useless FTTC line-is-too-long broadband, and there are no plans to upgrade it in the future (according to BT/OpenReach/dept of economy/government ministers) even though the broadband needs to meet the USO at some stage.

  3. Avatar Bill says:

    Do individuals claim for this – a bit like the voucher scheme?

  4. Avatar Matthew Hanson says:

    Use this money go invest in small isps like kijoma which deliver to rural sites with wireless tech we have had 40mb for 4 years and have just been upgrades to 88mb bt still can only get 500kb to our house.

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