Rural_BroadbandThe extra £250m, announced today by the Government, for superfast broadband to help business start-up and job creation in hard-to-reach areas, is a very welcome boost to rural communities, says Countryside Alliance executive chairman Barney White-Spunner. “Superfast broadband provision in the countryside lags significantly behind that in urban areas,” says Sir Barney. “The Government’s efforts to resolve this imbalance should be praised. 

“The Government estimates that fast broadband will create 56,000 more jobs in the UK by 2024. We want to ensure that as many of these positions can be filled by people living in rural areas as possible.

“Working online means that businesses do not have to be based in, or close to, big cities, but ironically this facility is not currently available to many of those living in the countryside.”

The £250m announced by Culture Secretary Maria Miller today is in addition to the £1.2bn already pledged by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport to ensure 95% of the population has access to fast broadband by 2017.

The money will be offered to local authorities, on a match-funding basis, to fund local initiatives.

• The Government announcement can be found here–251