The chancellor has today committed £50m of funding from Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK), the body set up to help arrange investment into broadband, from the £530m which the government intends to spend over the next four years. This money will be available to local authorities who apply for to help improve broadband in their area.
"Broadband is crucial for the country's economic future; that's why the coalition government is investing over half a billion pounds in its infrastructure.
We want to have the best superfast broadband network in Europe by 2015 and today's £50m will benefit up to 800,000 homes and businesses. This is very much a locally-driven process and we encourage bids from all local people with plans for improving broadband in their local area."George Osborne, Chancellor
Earlier this week Kent County Council committed £1.5m of grants to aid super-fast broadband projects in their region and Durham County Council advised that they would be applying for £2m of funding from BDUK to help fill in the gaps where broadband coverage is currently poor in their area.
The £530m of funding in this parliament is largely coming from the digital switch-over underspend (£300m) and also from the TV license fee (£230m). The government intends to use this to help the final-third achieve next-generation broadband that the private sector would be unlikely to reach. By allowing funding to be delivered through local authorities, it will help these areas pin-point the best use of money for their region rather than relying on BDUK to decide nationally which are worthy.