Good News for Staffordshire Rural Businesses: Big Broadband Boost for Rural English Shires
September 22, 2020
Big Broadband Boost for Rural English Shires and Counties:
A quarter of a million rural homes and businesses across England have been given access to more financial help to get top-of-the-range broadband speeds.
More than £22 million of additional funding is being invested into the UK Government’s broadband voucher scheme, which subsidises the costs of building gigabit-capable broadband networks to hard-to-reach areas. Gigabit-capable broadband enables internet download speeds of up to 1,000 megabits per second (mbps) – enough to download a HD movie in less than 30 seconds and lay the foundations for 8K-quality video streaming and virtual reality online gaming.
This new frontier in digital connectivity has the potential to revolutionise rural communities and make them more attractive places to live. It will give people who depend on reliable connections to work from home and keep in touch with family due to Coronavirus, the freedom to live and work more flexibly and will help develop thriving digital economies.
Digital Infrastructure Minister Matt Warman is now urging businesses and communities to apply for the vouchers to future-proof their internet connections and be ready to reap the economic and social benefits brought by new advances in technology.
Seventeen local councils in England have also provided £22.2 million worth of funding to top-up the values of the vouchers in their areas, At least 250,000 homes and businesses in the English countryside are expected to be eligible for this funding. These include Derbyshire, Shropshire and Staffordshire.
Almost 500,000 premises across the UK have been given access to gigabit-capable broadband since summer 2018 through a £1 billion UK Government funding commitment until the end of 2021. Combined with industry investment it means 8 million premises can now access gigabit capable broadband compared to around 1.4 million premises two years ago.
Nearly 45,000 gigabit broadband vouchers, worth more than £90 million, have already been issued and there is more than £70 million worth of vouchers on offer immediately to take companies and residents in rural towns and villages out of the digital slow lane. On top of this, the government has promised £5 billion to ensure hard-to-reach areas get access to gigabit connections over the next few years. Details on how this will be spent will be announced this autumn.