An extra £10 million will be unlocked for local broadband projects delivering ultrafast connections across the south west of England.
From April 2016 onwards, local groups will be able to apply for funding with projects aiming to set up services delivering at least 100Mbps to residents and businesses getting top priority.
The plans have been sketched out in the Treasury’s Summer Budget which was announced today. Details are thin on the ground at the moment, but the money is expected to be come from the TV licence fee, which will continue to partially fund the BDUK (Broadband Delivery for the UK) scheme until 2021.
It is also unclear how the cash will be divided up between projects across the south west. Recently, Devon and Somerset local authorities fell out with BT over the second phase of the Connecting Devon and Somerset scheme.
The first phase of the project plans to see 90 per cent of residents and businesses across the two countries able to order superfast broadband (24Mbps or above) by the end of 2016.
The second phase would have extended this, but the local authorities said BT’s proposals didn’t represent a ‘value for money deal’, according to the Western Morning News.
Wireless ISP Airband recently signed a contract with Devon and Somerset which aims to bring speeds of up to 100Mbps to 5,800 premises across the Dartmoor and Exmoor parks.
Rural fibre ISP Gigaclear has also won contracts to set up FTTP (Fibre to the Premises) networks in rural West Berkshire, Essex and the Cotswolds which will see customers able to get up to 1Gbps (1,000Mbps) download and upload speeds.