William Eichler 20 May 2019

Whitehall announces £200m ‘rural broadband' programme

Whitehall announces £200m ‘rural broadband programme image

The Government yesterday announced that it has started to rollout gigabit-capable full fibre broadband to rural areas across the country.

Last year, approximately 10% of UK premises, largely in remote areas, were judged to be unlikely to receive gigabit-capable connections commercially by 2033.

However, the Rural Gigabit Connectivity (RGC) programme will ensure these hard-to-reach premises will be reached at the same time as the commercial roll out happens across the UK.

‘Our decision to tackle some of the hardest to reach places first is a significant shift in Government policy and will be instrumental in delivering our plans for a nationwide full fibre broadband network by 2033,’ said secretary of state for digital, culture, media and sport Jeremy Wright.

‘Our rollout of superfast broadband transformed the UK’s digital landscape, and our modern Industrial Strategy is focused on investing in the infrastructure that will make Britain fit for the future.’

The RGC is a two year, £200m programme that will focus on rural areas, starting with Cornwall, Cumbria, Northumberland and Pembrokeshire.

Under the programme, public sector buildings – starting with 31 schools – will be upgraded with gigabit-capable connectivity. This will improve internet connection in the building, but will also encourage other suppliers to build more networks in the area.

‘In most parts of the country a fast, reliable internet connection is taken for granted – but that is not the case for everyone,’ said education secretary Damian Hinds.

‘This programme will mean that schools in these areas won’t be held back from accessing all of the opportunities the internet has to offer.

‘These first 31 schools will see the tangible benefits that fast broadband has to offer, from reducing teacher and staff workload, to improving access to high-quality learning resources.’

The RGC programme also has a rural gigabit broadband voucher component, offering up to £3,500 for small businesses and up to £1,500 for residents, in order to encourage greater take-up of gigabit-capable connectivity.

Rural affairs minister Lord Gardiner commented: ‘This funding will make sure that rural businesses, homes and communities can get online and make the most of the opportunities digital connectivity provides.

‘I am determined to champion rural communities and drive forward full fibre broadband connections in the most hard to reach areas across the UK, helping to ensure no one living in our countryside is left behind.'

Highways jobs

Social Worker

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
£24,799 - £32,878
Do you feel that you can work to deliver the outcomes of personalisation?  Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recuriter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Partnerships & Activities Manager

London Borough of Bexley
£31,353 - £36,876
Seeking an experienced manager to work in the Parks and Open Spaces Team of Bexley Council’s Communities Department. Bexleyheath, London (Greater)
Recuriter: London Borough of Bexley

Personal Assistant

Camden London Borough Council
£30,066 - £34,538
We have an exciting opportunity for an experienced and professional Personal Assistant to join the Supporting People Directorate. Camden, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Camden London Borough Council

Strategy and Partnerships Officer

Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames Council
£25,809 - 42,684
This is an exciting role in the new Strategy and Engagement function at the heart of the Council, supporting the... Kingston Upon Thames (City/Town), London (Greater)
Recuriter: Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames Council

Bridges & Structures Technician/Inspector

Swindon Borough Council
£23,014 to £30,980 p.a. depending on qualifications and experience
We are seeking a Technician/ Inspector either as a fully qualified and experienced individual or as a Trainee. Swindon, Wiltshire
Recuriter: Swindon Borough Council

Local Government News

Latest issue - Local Goverrnemnt News

The March issue of Local Government News explores alternative funding channels that are available to councils beyond the Public Works Loan Board, what hurdles merging councils face in coming together, and how local government is handling GDPR.

This issue also has a special highways and street lighting section exploring how councils can use lighting to embark on their smart city journey and using IoT technology to weather the storm.

Register for your free magazine