Superfast broadband roll-out in the countryside

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CLA East Midlands is celebrating a major victory for its long-running campaign to get broadband access to rural areas as the government announced funding of £363million to roll-out a superfast broadband network to homes and businesses in the countryside.

The rural affairs watchdog has been calling for public sector money to provide superfast broadband in the countryside since 2003.

CLA regional director, Andrew Shirley, said: “I am delighted the government recognises that rural areas are missing out on all the benefits broadband brings and that the countryside should not be overlooked. Rural areas are woefully under-served by even an adequate broadband service, let alone superfast.

“The CLA has argued for eight years that a Public Private Partnership (PPP) should be created to provide the correct level of investment for a superfast broadband infrastructure, and today’s announcement by Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt supports this.”

Mr Shirley said it is now vital that rural communities make their case for better broadband to their local authorities.

He said: “The government has now handed the baton to local authorities so rural residents and businesses must tell their local councils if they are suffering from poor access or no broadband at all and make sure their concerns are listened to.

“Broadband is the key to unlocking the potential of the rural economy and these areas now have the opportunity to grasp the same advantages enjoyed by their urban counterparts.”