Rural communities to get further broadband boost
People living in some of the most remote communities in Nottinghamshire are to receive another boost to broadband availability in their area after the County Council secured an extra £1 million to extend its on-going roll-out of digital infrastructure - and move the county closer to 100% coverage.
Currently, just 2% of homes and businesses cannot access superfast broadband - making Nottinghamshire the best-connected county in the East Midlands and one of the best in the country.
Now, following a successful bid to the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) programme, the Better Broadband for Nottinghamshire (BBfN) programme is to be extended further. BBfN has invested more than £30 million in the county's digital infrastructure since 2014, providing superfast broadband access to more than 80,000 homes and businesses across the county.
The Nottinghamshire County Council-led programme is currently delivering the £2.7 million third phase of its countywide roll-out in partnership with Openreach and BDUK, which the additional £1 million EAFRD grant will support. It will mean a further 250 businesses and 800 residential properties will get superfast broadband access, in addition to the 2,500 premises in Bassetlaw and Newark and Sherwood districts to benefit under phase three.
Thanks to BBfN, 98% of residents and businesses in Nottinghamshire currently have access to superfast broadband, compared to a national average of 95.7%.
Nottinghamshire County Council's Policy Committee received an update on the BBfN programme at its meeting yesterday (Wednesday 19 December), as well as sanctioning the £1 million grant and completion of the partnership agreement with EAFRD.
Councillor Kay Cutts MBE, Leader of Nottinghamshire County Council and Chairman of the Policy Committee, said: "Our Better Broadband for Nottinghamshire project has played a vital part in the delivery of fibre broadband in the county.
“Through the project, the Council has achieved 98% superfast coverage of the county, which is 2% higher than the national average and over 3.5% higher than our neighbouring counties, on average. This puts Nottinghamshire in an extremely strong position to help our economy grow, the jobs and inward investment we are competing to attract and improve the quality of life and access to services for our residents.
"The £1 million extension to phase three of the roll-out will move Nottinghamshire ever-closer to 100% coverage which, combined with Openreach's investment in next-generation ultrafast broadband in the county, will allow us to continue as a national leader."
The funding boost comes after BBfN was shortlisted for a prestigious national LGC award for being one of the best public/private partnerships in the country.
An independent social-economic report on the Better Broadband for Nottinghamshire project found that, over a 15 year period, it would:
- Generate £302 million for the Nottinghamshire economy - representing a return of £11 for every £1 of public and private investment.
- Create 5,800 new FTE jobs
- Deliver £127 million of Gross Value Added as a result of businesses making use of fibre broadband to deliver productivity benefits, to develop new products and services and to open up new markets.
Further information about broadband in Nottinghamshire is available from www.nottinghamshire.gov.uk/broadband