The Rural Community Broadband Fund (RCBF) is targetting much smaller areas of the UK than the larger county led projects, with the £20m fund being administered by Defra. The announcement of approval for £460,000 of funds for the Rothbury and Coquetdale areas of Northumberland will be very welcome news.
The project aims to deliver superfast broadband to some 1,500 homes and businesses in the upland community and it is an area that would only otherwise be left with ADSL type services and possibly a little work to bring those furthest from the exchange up to 2 Mbps USC type speeds.
"I am absolutely delighted that Coquetdale has been awarded funding from the Rural Community Broadband Fund. We have been working toward this for a long time and I’m pleased that we are among the first to secure this funding.
Superfast broadband is essential to the community and economy in Rothbury and the surrounding areas, ensuring we have genuine superfast broadband is critical to the long term success of the area. The support from residents for this project has been enormous, so this is a really important milestone."County councillor Steven Bridgett
iCoquetdale.co.uk which is a local community campaign indicates that the project is centered around updating fibre access to the local telephone exchanges and then taking fibre out to the various street cabinets attached to the Rothbury exchange. This sounds very like a mini version of what will be happening across the parts of Northumberland as part of the larger county council led project, and may cause some consternation from other campaigners who insist that only full fibre to the home/premises is the way to go.
Details of contracts and the actual signing of these is expected later this month according to the Defra announcement.