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England on track to unlock £530m broadband fund

Tyneside could be the only part of the UK to miss out on £530m of funding to meet the government’s superfast broadband target.

Every other region and local authority has submitted a plan for government approval to unlock a portion of the half-billion Pounds available.

The latest areas to have their plans approved are Lancashire, Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire, West Sussex, Cheshire and Dorset.

UK government broadband plans

The government’s strategy for Britain’s Superfast Broadband Future proposes a minimum connection speed of 2Mbps for every home and business, and at least 24Mbps available to 90 per cent of the UK.

Culture secretary Jeremy Hunt said: “Virtually every local authority is on track to roll out superfast broadband. But we cannot afford to relax – we must continue to drive forward with taking superfast broadband to all areas of the UK.”

North Tyneside and South Tyneside local authorities have told the government they can meet the 90 per cent target without any extra funding.

Local councils had until the end of February to submit an initial Local Broadband Plan that details how they will roll-out broadband in their area.

The projects must be ready to start buying services by the end of April, and any areas that fall behind could be taken over by a national project coordinated from Westminster.

The government has already approved 40 per cent of England’s 45 broadband projects, with separate plans being coordinated by the Scottish, Northern Irish and Welsh authorities.