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Government releases £460,000 for rural broadband rollout project

10 Jan 2013
Rothbury in Northumberland is to receive almost half a million pounds to fund a rural broadband rollout

The government has awarded £460,000 to a rural community in Northumberland for the rollout of superfast broadband.

The funding is the first approved from a £20m pot managed by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and will enable 1,500 homes and businesses in the area of Rothbury to access speeds of 30Mbit/s and above for the first time.

The funding is half of the £920,000 required to fulfil the project and those from the local community have volunteered to dig trenches for the fibre deployments, underlining the demand for solid internet access in the remote area.

"It is commendable that Rothbury people are so keen to see their community grow that they have volunteered to dig some of the broadband trenches themselves," said rural affairs minister, Richard Benyon.

The funding will be given Northumberland County Council to decide how best to allocate cash for the provision of high-speed internet services in the area.

The rollout in rural areas like Rothbury forms part of the government's desire to ensure the entire nation can access at least 2Mbit/s by 2015 to ensure rural and remote areas are not cut off from the benefits of the internet.

"It's the government's aim for the UK to have the best superfast broadband network in Europe by 2015, and it's projects like Rothbury that will help us achieve this," added internet minister Ed Vaizey.

On Thursday V3 revealed that the government is in the process of setting up an e-commerce task force charged with ensuring businesses across the UK utilise the benefits of internet access.

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Dan Worth

Dan Worth is the news editor for V3 having first joined the site as a reporter in November 2009. He specialises in a raft of areas including fixed and mobile telecoms, data protection, social media and government IT. Before joining V3 Dan covered communications technology, data handling and resilience in the emergency services sector on the BAPCO Journal

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