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Government Puts Extra £45m to Improve Rural Broadband Cover

Thursday, July 26th, 2018 (4:17 pm) - Score 2,018

The UK Government’s Rural Development Programme for England has today committed an extra £45m to their existing Rural Broadband Infrastructure Scheme (RBIS), which is intended to help rural businesses and communities to build new 30Mbps+ capable superfast broadband ISP networks in poorly served areas.

The additional funding is on top of last year’s original £30m investment (total £75 million) and forms part of the department’s wider plan to invest at least £3.5 billion into rural economies by 2020, supporting the third of businesses in the UK which are based in the countryside. Nearly a fifth of people also live in the countryside.

Lord Gardiner, who is visiting the North York Moors National Park today, has confirmed that North Yorkshire is one of the local authorities to receive funding through the scheme with a grant offer of over £11 million. Sadly exact details of how this will be invested remain unclear.

Lord Gardiner, Rural Affairs Minister, said:

“I am delighted to announce today that North Yorkshire has been awarded a grant of £11 million towards improving its broadband infrastructure.

Rural areas should not be left behind in the connectivity slow lane, missing out on the opportunities high speed broadband can bring. The funding made available through the Rural Broadband Infrastructure Scheme champions our countryside communities and businesses by opening up access to broadband of at least 30 Megabits per second, in some of the most hard to reach areas.”

The scheme itself will be delivered by the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) and supports those rural areas which are not currently scheduled to receive better connectivity as part of commercial delivery plans or under the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK programme, which expects to extend access to superfast broadband to around 97% of UK premises over the next few years (previously they said 98% but this could be due to using the higher definition for “superfast” of 30Mbps+ instead of the older 24Mbps+ one).

One interesting point is that the funding must be “used to support full fibre [FTTP] wherever possible,” which would be in keeping with the Government’s new “outside-in” approach to ultrafast fibre optic network deployments as part of their recent Future Telecoms Infrastructure Review (here). In other words, while network competition serves the commercially viable areas, the Government will support investment in the most difficult to reach areas at the same time.

The Rural Broadband Infrastructure Scheme

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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12 Responses
  1. chris conder says:

    gosh, I hope the RDPE folk do a better job this time and don’t let the funds get wasted on FTTC like that last lot.

  2. AnotherTim says:

    More funds are always welcome, but I wish they would make some extra money available to speed up some of the BDUK rollouts. These funds are not available if you are in a BDUK area, even if the BDUK plans won’t provide superfast broadband for several years. If you are not included in any plans you can get help, if you are in plan for 2-3 years time you can get no help to get anything sooner.

  3. Richard says:

    More funding for rural internet? I can’t even get decent internet in a city like Luton

    1. Jerry says:

      What’s your idea of decent?

    2. Guy Cashmore says:

      19% of premises where I live can’t get 24 Mbps, nearly 4% can’t get 2 Mbps, yes rural needs and is owed a lot more funding, BT/OR haven’t spent a penny on my service since they installed ADSL nearly 20 years ago. http://labs.thinkbroadband.com/local/torridge-and-west-devon,E14001000

    3. Brian says:

      At least some sign of movement in England, in Scotland still the ongoing waiting game. Waited for FTTC to be installed on the exchange, but too far from cabinet (2014). Then told work in my postcode in Autumn 2017, when the time came told the information was wrong and there would be nothing. Now waiting to see if we’ll be on the list to have anything done by 2022. Not even got ADSL2+ available on the exchange, that’s been due in a months time for over a year.


    4. Jerry says:

      Exactly the same situation here. Told upgrade Dec ’17 didn’t come. Then told by end of January ’18 didn’t come then told by mid March 18 followed by end of June and here were are in August and nothing. I was told that my post code falls in phase 3 of the upgrade scheme yet it remains to be seen.

      Currently receiving <2Mbps it's just not worthwhile using. I can't even utilise services like Netflix or catch up on demand. It's just saddening.

  4. Bill says:

    What’s the definition of rural?

    1. Joe says:

      Doesn’t say perhaps they are using the ofcom definition. But if you have to ask ‘are you rural’ you probably aren’t!

    2. Bill says:

      Well I’m on a farm in the outskirts of London and I get an astonishing download speed of 4Mbps. Does that count?

  5. un4h731x0rp3r0m says:

    “One interesting point is that the funding must be “used to support full fibre [FTTP] wherever possible,””

    AKA to BT (and anyone else who wants to pull the stunt) as grab the money, install whatever the hell we want and tell the clueless politicians sorry FTTP was not possible.

    Until we have actual laws on such things rather than pointless, draft up some vague crap which lets them and us off the hook nothing is gonna change.

    1. TheFacts says:

      All about what is in the contract.

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