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Defra launches third round of funding for rural broadband

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has unveiled a third round of funding for rural broadband projects in the UK.

The fund is part of the joint Defra and Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) Fund. It aims to help hard to reach rural communities with little or no internet to access superfast broadband, with the target of boosting local rural businesses.

“Communities in the remotest parts of England are just as keen to have superfast broadband as those in urban areas,” said internet minister Ed Vaziey.

Credit - Smabs Sputzer

“This funding is available to help deliver all the benefits that come with superfast broadband to those businesses and homes that may otherwise have struggled for access to these levels of speed.”

The fund is targeted at the 10 per cent hard to reach areas that would not otherwise receive superfast broadband under the Government’s main broadband rollout programme. Communities in these areas can seek funding for projects where they can demonstrate a need for superfast broadband.

Communities can now apply for a grant of more than 50 per cent of the project costs where a need and value for money can be demonstrated.

Meanwhile, DEFRA has waved through a £117,000 grant for a superfast broadband project in Tove Valley, Northamptonshire. Up to 450 businesses and homes will benefit from access to broadband speeds of up to 30 Mbps.

Environment Minister Richard Benyon said that people living and working in remote areas face a range of challenges. “Having access to superfast broadband will help people overcome these issues and tap into new opportunities to help grow their businesses.”

“By getting people better connected, the Government’s £20m broadband fund will give businesses and a boost and benefit the local economy,” added Benyon.

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