More Investment For Rural Broadband

By published 31 March, 2014 No Comments

Superfast broadband is on its way to even more rural areas of East Cleveland after the Government earmarked £300,000 for improvements.

Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council was awarded the money, last week, taking the total amount available for new infrastructure in the borough to almost £1m.

It means about 93% of the borough should have access to superfast fibre optic connection, by 2016, while remaining areas should have access to at least 2MB’s.

Actual speeds will depend on the quality of the connection from individual properties to the network itself but they could be much higher.

Christopher Massey, the council’s cabinet member for environment and rural affairs, said it was fantastic news for the borough.

Councillor Massey said: “Fast and reliable internet connection brings enormous social and economic benefits and it is important that rural parts of the borough are not left behind.

“This scheme will boost business and learning opportunities in rural communities while helping isolated residents access services and keep in touch with friends and family.”

The grant followed an application to the Rural Community Broadband Fund and adds to £260,000 from the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) scheme, awarded last year.

The BDUK grant was matched by the council, attracting a private investment of £170,000 from British Telecom and bringing the total fund to £990,000.

In accordance with the criteria of the first grant, key development sites such as Kirkleatham Business Park, as well as parts of Redcar and Eston with slower connections, will be upgraded by 2015.

Beyond that focus will turn to areas around Saltburn and Skelton with main superfast infrastructure works expected to start towards the end of 2015.

The latest funding is expected to connect about 1,000 properties in Moorsholm, Scaling, Loftus, Easington and south of Skelton by early 2016.

Cllr Massey said: “As part of the bidding process we asked people in East Cleveland to register their interest in the scheme, to help build the borough’s case.

“There was a fantastic response with as many as 90% of people supporting the bid in some areas. This support that was crucial to the success of the bid.”

Tags: , , Regional News
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