Lincolnshire set for faster broadband after EU green light

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Plans to invest public money into faster and more reliable broadband for Lincolnshire have been approved by the European Union.

The decision has been hailed by the Greater Lincolnshire Local Enterprise Partnership.

Ursula Lidbetter MBE, Chair of the Greater Lincolnshire Local Enterprise Partnership, says the EU’s announcement of ‘state aid approval’ means Lincolnshire can now press ahead with improving broadband coverage, which is one of the LEP’s key priorities.

“This is great news as it means that procurement can now start on the broadband infrastructure programme for Lincolnshire,” said Mrs Lidbetter.

“Better broadband internet coverage is a priority for businesses in our region and a key ambition in the Greater Lincolnshire LEP’s Business Plan.

“We know that many businesses, particularly those in rural areas, are hampered by the lack of a reliable high-speed broadband connection. Better infrastructure will mean Lincolnshire businesses can grow, trade more effectively online and explore new export markets, and it will also help our area to attract inward investment.

“We are working with Lincolnshire County Council on this important programme and we will continue to support the councils in northern Lincolnshire with their broadband plans.”

The announcement from Brussels paves the way for Lincolnshire County Council to start its roll-out of superfast broadband across Lincolnshire next year. The council aims to bring next-generation broadband (a minimum of 24Mbps) to 90% of county premises by 2015, with a guarantee of at least 2Mbps for the remaining 10 per cent.

Around £57m of public and private sector money will be invested in improving Lincolnshire’s broadband infrastructure, including £10m from Lincolnshire County Council, £4m from the district councils and £300,000 from the European Regional Development Fund.

Maria Miller, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, commented: “Finally getting the green light from Brussels will mean a huge boost for the British economy.

“Superfast broadband is essential to creating growth, jobs and prosperity and the delay has caused frustration within Government.

“Today’s announcement means that we can crack on with delivering broadband plans, boosting growth and jobs around the country.”