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Faster broadband plans boosted by EU approval

Plans for faster broadband have been given a major boost following the approval of Government plans to improve speed.

The European Union has approved plans to invest public money in better broadband, meaning schemes in Lincolnshire and Rutland can progress.

Rutland County Council’s project Digital Rutland is now set for the go-ahead. It was awarded £820,000 of national funding to help upgrade the broadband infrastructure across the county. A contract was signed with BT in May and work will start as soon as the final approval from Broadband Delivery UK, a specialist government team, is received.

Deputy leader of Rutland County Council Terry King (Con) said: “The news that the European Commission has approved UK broadband plans is extremely welcome as it brings the start of the Digital Rutland project one step closer.

“Once Digital Rutland has been approved, we can start working with BT to upgrade exchanges throughout Rutland and start laying cables in the ground that will significantly improve broadband speeds for homes and businesses across the county.

“Broadband Delivery UK has indicated that Rutland is near the front of the queue for receiving state aid clearance so we hope this approval will come sooner rather than later.”

The council plans to borrow £1.5m to fund the project, which should bring download speeds of up to 80MB per second to more than 90 per cent of homes and businesses by the end of next year. More remote locations will get speeds of between 2MB and 24MB. Current users get speeds of between 2MB and 10MB.

The project is part of BT’s Openreach scheme and will allow as many as 60 internet service providers to offer packages to residents through new fibre optic cables.

For more information about the council’s project, visit http://www.rutland.gov.uk/digital_rutland

The announcement also paves the way for Lincolnshire County Council to start its roll-out of superfast broadband across the county next year.

The council aims to bring next-generation broadband, a minimum of 24Mbps, to 90 per cent of homes and businesses in the county by 2015, with a guarantee of at least 2Mbps for the remaining 10 per cent.

About £57m of public and private sector money will be invested in improving the broadband infrastructure, including £10m from Lincolnshire County Council, £4m from the district councils and £300,000 from the European Regional Development Fund.

The Mercury and our readers have been supporting the OnLincolnshire campaign for better broadband.

 

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