News: March 2014

Date posted: 13/03/14

Lack of Broadband Funding


The Department of Culture, Media and Sport recently announced an additional £250m for funding the provision of rural broadband, with the majority of the funding being earmarked for England. This is very good news for the rural economy in most of England, but not in Northumberland. Angus Collingwood-Cameron, representing the Northern Farmers and Landowners Group, explains:

“For some extraordinary reason, Northumberland has been virtually excluded from this additional funding. This is despite it being one of the most sparsely populated counties in England, so making central Government funding even more important for the provision of fast broadband. Durham and Gateshead seem to have fared pretty well in this round of funding. They received nearly £10m in the initial BDUK roll out, and have now been allocated a further £3.9m. Meanwhile Northumberland received an initial allocation of £7m but has only been awarded a paltry £650,000 in this funding round. This allocation seems extraordinary when you consider the size and nature of Northumberland. Only the tiny county of Rutland has received less.

None of the North East figures look terrible generous when compared to Cumbria. It received an initial £17.1m and has now been given another £2.86m. Why has Cumbria been given so much in comparison to the North East? Why are we the poor relations and why must our rural economy be held back due to the poor provision of broadband?

If the allocation of funds is not frustrating enough, the lack of explanation as to how these funds have been allocated makes the situation even more frustrating. The very least that DCMS can do is tell us why it sees fit to treat us in this way.”


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