£10m Government investment in tech pilots

Jessica Middleton-Pugh

Fresh cash to explore new ways of delivering superfast broadband to some of the North West's hardest to reach rural areas has been confirmed.

The £10m pot from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport was allocated to specifically look at piloting new technologies to boost internet connectivity for the final 5% of areas that cannot use traditional access infrastructure.

Potential technologies that could be piloted under this fund include:

  • Using 4G mobile signal to deliver 'fixed wireless' superfast broadband
  • Using fibre direct to premises
  • Taking fibre from broadband cabinets to a distribution point further down the network, increasing speeds by reducing the reliance on copper
  • Satellite technology

The fund will open for applications on 17 March 2014.

Local projects in the North West can also receive additional funding from a £250m pot on a match funding basis. This is part of the £1.2bn already invested by central and local government as part of the Superfast Britain programme and would ensure 95% of UK homes and businesses have access to superfast broadband by 2017, the government said.

Initial indicative funding figures from the government suggest that Lancashire could access £3.84m from this pot, Cumbria £2.86m, Cheshire £2.12m, Greater Manchester £450,000 and Merseyside £700,000.

Culture Secretary Maria Miller said: "Superfast Broadband will benefit everyone in the North West – whether they need it for work, to do homework or simply to download music or films. Thousands of homes and businesses now have access and it is helping people with their everyday tasks."

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