£10m bid for quicker broadband in Hampshire

HOPEFUL Ken Thornber
HOPEFUL Ken Thornber
Liza Bailey and her daughter Helen Bailey took part in Small Business Saturday last year at their florist shop Seaside Florist on Hayling Island.

Picture: Malcolm Wells

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FASTER internet connections could finally be on the way to rural areas amid a £10m scheme.

Hampshire County Council is resubmitting proposals to secure government funding for quicker broadband across the county.

It comes as more than 114,000 households and nearly 7,000 businesses in Hampshire currently have poor broadband services with very slow speeds or, even worse, no service at all.

The funding would mean 90 per cent of Hampshire would have access to superfast broadband, with minimum speeds of 20Mbps.

Councillor Ken Thornber, leader of Hampshire County Council, said: ‘Broadband has become an integral part of every day life. It allows people to work and run businesses from home and increases access to education, employment and leisure.

‘It is therefore important that we work to close the “digital divide”, which sees urban housing estates receiving superfast broadband but rural villages just half a mile away getting little or no internet access.’

In August, the government announced that the national allocation of £530m included £8.4m that had been set aside for rural and hard to reach areas in Hampshire, including Portsmouth and Southampton, and the Isle of Wight. To secure the funding the county council has to submit a successful project proposal and put up funds to match-fund the £5m being asked from the government.

The county council would put up £2.5m with the rest coming from local councils.