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Government set to increase broadband coverage with new funding

Thousands more homes and business in rural areas are set to be included in a new scheme to extend superfast broadband access.

According to reports from the Darlington and Stockton Times, culture, communications and creative industries minister Ed Vaizey said he hoped he would be able to make an announcement over the next few months about how £250 million would be spent to decrease the digital divide between cities and rural areas.

In an MPs’ debate on the Government’s broadband scheme in Yorkshire, Vaizey was warned by MPs that if new funding was not made available, targets over broadband connectivity would not be met.

York Outer MP Julian Sturdy said that original scheme to provide speeds of over 25Mbps to 90 per cent of North Yorkshire properties had been pushed back to the end of 2016 from the original date of the end of October last year.

“I remain concerned there is a deepening digital divide between the 90 per cent and the ten per cent, who appear to being left behind by phase one of the roll-out,” said Sturdy.

He added that the lack of funding would bring the rural broadband to a halt as it waited for extra government money.

Vaizey told MPs that he wanted to allocate extra money as soon as possible to avoid situations such as these.

“I can be certain that good partners like North Yorkshire will receive appropriate funding to carry on the good work they are doing,” he said.

He added that the Government was looking at how to allocate a further £10 million of funding to increase superfast broadband coverage to 100 per cent in some rural areas.

Image: Geograph/David Rogers

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