By Daniel Hunter
An extra £250m of Government money for superfast broadband will help business start-ups and job creation in some of the East Midlands’ hardest to reach rural areas, Culture Secretary, Maria Miller, announced today. 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 in the East Midlands will now receive additional funding of £15m from a £250m pot, with the hardest to reach locations amongst those who stand to benefit most. This funding is in addition to the £1.2bn 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 broadband- 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 £275m every month, or around £9m 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 to the cost of rolling out superfast broadband, and the additional £250m will be awarded on a match funding basis.