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Last edited on: 22:12:2016

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Broadband boost for rural areas - NFU comment

Rural broadband report images_34405The government has unveiled a £440m fund to connect 600,000 homes and businesses to superfast broadband.

The culture secretary Karen Bradley said the funds would help to bring faster speeds to some of the most remote rural areas of the UK.

The cash comes from efficiency savings and money returned by BT as part of the government's flagship broadband rollout scheme. Under a 2010 deal, the government paid BT to roll out superfast broadband in hard-to-reach areas, where providers had said it was not cost-effective. As part of the agreement, if more than 20% of premises in those areas bought superfast broadband, BT had to repay some of the subsidy.

NFU senior planning and rural affairs adviser Suzanne Clear said:

“This additional funding outlined by the Culture Secretary today is very welcome given many rural communities, including farmers and growers, are just not able to get the broadband speeds and mobile coverage they need.

“However it is critical that this money is spent on rural proofed solutions that can deliver broadband infrastructure all the way to farm businesses and homes - and not just to enable fibre to cabinets that farmers and rural families then find out they cannot be connected to.

“We need comprehensive solutions to deliver a reliable superfast broadband infrastructure to all farm premises at a cost they can afford.”


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