Super-fast broadband set to race into district

AN AMBITIOUS £17 million plan to bring super-fast broadband to homes and businesses across the Dispatch district is eagerly awaiting a funding decision from government.

Notts County Council wants to improve Internet access at up to 116,000 premises across Nottinghamshire, including some that are in braodband blackspots in Hucknall and villages around the town.

But it is waiting for confirmation of a £4.25 million injection into the scheme from Whitehall before work can start.

A decision is expected at some point this month.

Coun Kay Cutts (Con), leader of the county council, said: “Faster broadband-access is critical for the future prosperity of Nottinghamshire and all its residents.

“Without the faster connections, business growth will be shackled and we will risk losing ground on the rest of the UK.

“The county council is determined that isolated areas across the county are not left behind by not having access to a decent broadband-service.

In a document submitted to government, the county council has set out its plans for the broadband project, which are backed with £2.15 million from its own funds.

A further £8.5 million will come from the telecommunications contractor that will lead improvements to Internet services.

The rest of the money is made up of £1.1 million in contributions from district and borough councils.

This includes £70,000 from Ashfield to benefit 3,322 residential and 79 business properties who have little or no Internet access.

Coun Cutts described broadband as a “critical modern tool” and added: “We are prepared to back this ambition with a significant amount of money and welcome the fact that some of the district councils have also recognised the importance and contributed their share”

Plans focus on improvements to properties which will be unaffected by BT’s super-fast broadband rollout and will ensure these areas are not left behind.

The council is aiming for improvement works to start in early 2013.