SOME of the more rural homes and businesses in Furness are set to benefit from £2m funding to improve rural connectivity.
Grants are available to eligible households and businesses under the government’s Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme (GBVS). The grants are to subsidize the costs of introducing gigabit broadband to areas suffering from slow broadband speeds.
The GBVS is currently providing up to £3,500 in funding to eligible rural businesses and up to £1,500 to eligible rural residential properties to install gigabit-enabled connections as part of a group project.
Cumbria County Council is also supplementing grants which will match existing funding available under the GBVS, so eligible businesses can now apply for up to a maximum of £7,000 and eligible residential properties up to £3,000 £.
Welcoming the announcement, Simon Fell, MP for Barrow and Furness, said: ‘Nowadays it is not acceptable that many pockets of Furness still cannot get decent internet speeds.
“More and more of our daily activities are being put online. Streaming services, mobile phone services, banking services and much more. It is therefore fitting that the government and our local councils support our rural homes and businesses with these grants.
“I hope this huge funding boost helps more people get the broadband speeds they need.”
Mr Fell encouraged voters in rural communities to contact him if they wanted help or support in accessing the fund and bringing neighbors together so the vouchers could be pooled to go even further.
Digital Infrastructure Minister Julia Lopez, MP, said: “Our £210million voucher scheme is already helping rural communities in Cumbria get super-fast gigabit internet connections and it’s great to see Cumbria County Council is providing an additional £2million to help more people struggling with slowing speeds.
“Vouchers are just one of the ways we are rolling out better broadband speeds through our £5 billion Project Gigabit program – the biggest broadband upgrade in UK history. – which is expected to connect up to 60,000 hard-to-reach homes and businesses in Cumbria alone.”