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£30m boost taking Superfast Broadband further and faster in Yorkshire and Humber

Nationwide rollout is a key part of Government’s long-term economic plan

AN extra £30-million plus of Government money for superfast broadband will help business start-ups and job creation in some of the hardest to reach rural areas of Yorkshire and Humber, Culture Secretary, Maria Miller, has announced.

The nationwide rollout is a key part of the Government’s long-term economic plan to secure Britain’s future by providing better access to superfast broadband, and in allocating funding the Government has worked to ensure as many families and businesses as possible benefit.

Local projects across the region will now receive additional funding from a £250-million national pot, with the hardest to reach locations amongst those who stand to benefit most. This funding is in addition to the £1.2-billion already invested by central and local Government and will ensure 95% of UK homes and businesses have access to superfast broadband by 2017.

The current rural programme will deliver returns of £20 for every £1 invested, representing tremendous value for money. As well as improvements in the productivity of firms, faster broadband will create an additional 56,000 jobs in the UK by 2024, and the work involved in the current roll out is expected to provide a £1.5-billion boost to local economies, with approximately 35,000 job-years created or safeguarded over the period to 2016. By 2024, the Government’s current investments in faster broadband will be boosting rural economies by £275-million every month, or around £9-million every day.

Over 10,000 homes and businesses are now gaining access each week, with this figure expected to reach 40,000 per week by summer this year. There are strong economic growth and efficiency reasons why local authorities should contribute towards the cost of rolling out superfast broadband, and the additional £250-million will be awarded on a match funding basis.

Indicative funding in Yorkshire and Humber is as follows: South Yorkshire will get £10.4-million, West Yorkshire, Kirklees £6.62-million, North Lincolnshire, North East Lincolnshire £1.18-million, North Yorkshire, York, £7.6-million, East Riding of Yorkshire £5-million, giving a total of £30.8-million.

Superfast broadband allows families to use multiple devices simultaneously, so while parents are streaming a movie or their favourite television programme, the kids can be uploading photos and videos to social media sites while downloading the latest track from their favourite artist. Businesses also stand to benefit hugely from the roll out, which will facilitate video conferencing, boost processing power and increasing productivity.

Culture Secretary Maria Miller said: “Superfast Broadband will benefit everyone in the Yorkshire and Humber region - whether they need it for work, to do homework or simply to download music or films. Thousands of homes and businesses now have access and it is helping people with their everyday tasks. We want to make sure that Britain is one of the best countries in the world for broadband, and the extra £250-million we are investing will help ensure communities around the UK are not left behind in the digital slow lane.”

Hull & Humber Chamber of Commerce welcomes the news that superfast broadband is getting more Government funding. David Hooper, External Affairs Manager at the Chamber said: “It is something we have been campaigning for across the Humber region and are pleased to see that the roll-out of a long-awaited scheme in Northern Lincolnshire is now getting underway ahead of schedule.

“This extra money will improve connectivity for rural areas which we believe is crucial for the viability of businesses and indeed the communities themselves, allowing them all the benefits of modern technology.”

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said: “This Government’s long-term economic plan is accelerating the roll-out of superfast broadband, to help narrow the digital divide and boost local growth. We are offering additional central Government funding to councils who want to work with us to help increase internet speeds for their local residents and local firms.”

Cllr Flick Rea, Chair of the Culture, Tourism and Sport Board at the Local Government Association said: "Councils are committed to improving internet services for residents and business to help drive forward growth in their areas and this announcement of further funding is a positive step to build on the good work that has already been done locally to build better connected communities. We look forward to working with the Government on the roll-out of the schemes in the areas that are receiving funding.”

Government also recently committed £10-million to look at ways to reach those areas in the “final 5 per cent”. Potential technologies that could be piloted under this fund include:

  • Using 4G mobile signal to deliver ‘fixed wireless’ superfast broadband’.
  • Using fibre direct to premises.
  • Taking fibre from broadband cabinets to a distribution point further down the network, increasing speeds by reducing the reliance on copper.
  • Satellite technology.

The fund will open on 17 March 2014 and we are asking local authorities to offer support to these pilot projects.

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