Rural Rutland businesses to benefit from broadband pilot

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RURAL businesses are set to benefit from the Government using Rutland as a “pilot” project for high speed broadband.

RURAL businesses are set to benefit from the Government using Rutland as a “pilot” project for high speed broadband.

The county has been chosen as one of two national broadband champions for rural areas.

The Government confirmed yesterday that the county will receive £710,000 towards securing superfast broadband for 99 per cent of homes and businesses in the county by 2013.

The aim of Rutland County Council, which has worked on the Digital Rutland project and secured the money from Broadband Delivery UK, is to attract businesses to the county and boost the ones that are already based here.

Owner of Northfield Farm in Cold Overton Jan McCourt said: “We have just switched internet provider and have had a lot of problems with speed. It slowed to nearly nothing.

“At some points of the day you spent time waiting for the internet to load and if you add that time up across five or six workers then you lose about an hour of working time a day.”

Jan says in an ideal world businesses would not have to rely on the internet at all, but with demand of products online and more people relying on social networking sites for communication he has no choice.

He added: “Any improvement in internet speeds is going to make a difference in the county.

“It will attract more people wanting to start or relocate a business. The majority of people who move here do so for work.”

New businesses that are just starting out in the county will also reap the rewards when the speeds improve.

Karen Taylor who has recently founded Rutland Preserves with her business partner Emma Dodson in Whissendine said: “At the moment we are trying to make a name for ourselves locally, but have a website and hopefully by 2013 we will be at the point where we are taking online orders.

“We will need a system that works and can keep up.”

Deputy leader of Rutland County Council Terry King (Con) said: “The impact of introducing high speed broadband to an estimated 99 per cent of homes and businesses across Rutland by 2013 should not be underestimated. It is my view that this is one of the most important projects for the local economy that the council will deliver in the next two years.”