Broadband funding for county ‘by July’

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FUNDING will be available for West Sussex County Council to improve the county’s broadband network within two months, the Government has said.

While the county did not receive money for its bid in the second allocation of Government funding announced on Friday May 27, the Culture Secretary, Jeremy Hunt MP, said that every local authority would be allocated funding by July.

The decision for the second allocation was announced by Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) the body established by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport to allocate the £530 million earmarked by the Government to improve the broadband network.

Culture Secretary, Jeremy Hunt MP said: “Although some local authorities will be disappointed by the announcement, they will soon have certainty as to the funds available to them. Rather than run any more competitions for pilots or projects, I intend by July to announce the allocation for every English local authority.”

Leader of the council Louise Goldsmith said: “Although we haven’t received funding immediately, we’re pleased that this isn’t the end of the story. We will now be working with BDUK to strengthen our Plan and look forward to the Secretary of State’s announcement in July.”

The county council has been lobbying internet service providers to help get faster broadband in West Sussex, and tackle the ‘not spots’ where people are unable to get broadband at all.

A successful summit looking at broadband provision – ‘West Sussex: Better Connected’ – was hosted at County Hall this month by Arundel & South Downs MP Nick Herbert and the County Council. The keynote speaker was the Culture Secretary, Jeremy Hunt MP who was full of praise for what the summit had achieved.

Nick Herbert MP said: “The summit was an important part of planning for West Sussex’s superfast future. We’re now in a very strong place to improve the county’s bid and secure a good slice of the remaining money in July.”