Kent County Council will be funding up to £1.5 million towards broadband connections in the county after it announced that grants will be given out to help rural communities receive faster broadband where the market has so far failed to deliver. The grants are for up to £100,000 and will be given to community groups, parish councils, and local authorities. All applications will need to provide a sound business case detailing the economic benefits that it is likely to bring and must be submitted by 14th April 2011.
"Having access to fast broadband is as important as any other utility service. So many people need fast broadband to access services, buy and sell goods, run businesses, for education purposes or to simply enjoy in their spare time.
Many rural areas have 'not spots' which means they have either slow broadband or no service at all. Successful bids will be able to make a real difference to local people and change their quality of life. It will also bring a tangible economic benefit by helping businesses run in rural areas, creating employment and wealth.
However, there are only so many communities we can help, and ultimately by helping to prove the demand for broadband we hope the telecomms providers will take responsibility for bringing this technology to 'harder to reach' areas as well as benefiting from the more profitable urban areas. There will be further KCC funds available in the Summer and Autumn to enable a total of 15 areas to benefit, but it would be great to see the private sector recognising the need too."Kevin Lynes, (Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Economic Development) Kent County Council
Kent County Council previously provided funding to help Iwade gain access to super-fast broadband through a £10 subsidy per premises which allowed BT to make the required investment to install fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) services in the area. It is obviously hoped that stimulating demand in this way will help bring in other private investment to help fill in any broadband not-spots or slow spots.
Full details of the application process are available on the rural super-fast broadband grant section of the Kent County Council website.