Boost of £8.4m towards faster broadband links in rural Hampshire

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RURAL homes and businesses are set to be wired for faster broadband connection thanks to a huge government grant.

Hampshire County Council has been awarded £8.4m towards rolling out faster internet connections in rural areas.

West Sussex County Council has also been awarded £6.26m towards improving the network.

Getting a usable broadband connection is currently not possible in some parts of both counties.

Hampshire’s leader Ken Thornber said the cash boost was a positive step towards implementing the project which aims to ‘close the digital divide’.

Deputy leader for West Sussex Lionel Barnard said: ‘We have been doing a lot of work with internet service providers and we are committed to the need to improve broadband.

‘A good broadband connection is vital for businesses, many of which are home-based. We need to ensure this happens to encourage business development.’

The government wants nine out of 10 homes and businesses to have access to superfast broadband by 2015 to create the fastest network in Europe.

Companies such as BT and Virgin are planning to roll it out to around two-thirds of the country.

The government hopes the new funding will help make it viable for businesses to invest in rolling it out to the remaining third.