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Local Government Association Offers Digital Connectivity Grants

Wednesday, October 14th, 2020 (8:43 am) - Score 696
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The Local Government Association (LGA), which represents hundreds of councils from across England and Wales, has started offering some seemingly small grants to help local authorities plan for and improve 4G, 5G and “full fibre” broadband network coverage across their areas.

The new grants form part of the LGA’s new Digital Connectivity Programme, which aims to help build up the skills and capacity of local councils to “take advantage of the opportunities offered by connectivity to your local place and communities.”

The inaugural year of the programme, which started this week, will initially look to support just six local authorities from across urban and rural settings. Apparently the “first round” of this will involve those councils receiving grants of £20,000 each, which seems unlikely to make much of a dent in the problem itself but in the current climate it may be a case of ‘every little helps’.

Councillor Peter Fleming, Chair of the LGA’s Improvement Board, said:

“Councils are best placed to help their communities get through the coronavirus pandemic.

The Digital Connectivity programme, which is part of our sector led improvement offer, is helping all councils to provide vital services for residents who don’t have access or confidence to use digital platforms.

As Covid-19 is causing more families to work and educate from home, it is more important than ever that all households have access to good, reliable broadband.”

The Application period will conclude on 12th November 2020. Councils will be expected to show how their projects will improve connectivity, as well as their sustainability after the funding period and how the learning will be shared with other councils. It’s unclear how much total funding will be used to support this 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.
Leave a Comment
5 Responses
  1. Mark D says:

    Bedford council is busy slapping itself on the back about what a great job it did all by itself bringing superfast (30mbit , yeah “super” fast) by openreach to the town. When I asked during a public consultation why we didn’t have FTTP, they went off on a huge rant about how amazing the council are and if they’d not have helped we’d have no broadband at all.. I asked them how much money they gave Virgin Media who are in the town, and they chose to ignore it.

    1. Fastman says:

      so you offering to fund FTTP then yourself – no thought not

      bedford council vastly impotant in helping broadband spread in Bedford (under BDUK and getting developeprs to fund FTTC in new build areas

      you clearly have no idea what you are on about

    2. GNewton says:

      “you clearly have no idea what you are on about”

      And you know better? The question of why there is no fibre broadband in that area is a perfectly valid one. And it would be indeed a sign of poor planning or management if newly built estates don’t get fibre broadband from the very beginning.

  2. Fibre4Wales says:

    Whilst LGA represents councils in England AND Wales, the application forms appear to be for English councils only. @Mark, please could you clarify?

    1. Mark Jackson says:

      By the looks of it their first round does indeed seem to be limited to English councils. Not sure if that will be maintained going forward.

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