Businesses get boost from £1.5m rural broadband connection

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Rural businesses held up by slow broadband could benefit from a £1.5 million cash injection.

Enterprises in the Kent countryside have long complained that they suffer a competitive disadvantage against similar operations in areas with faster services.

Kent County Council has now unveiled a Superfast Broadband Pilot Fund and invited bids from community groups, parish councils and local authorities. Successful bids could receive up to £100,000.

Kevin Lynes, KCC Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Economic Development, said: "Having access to fast broadband is as important as any other utility service. So many people need fast broadband to access services, buy and sell goods, run businesses, for education purposes or to simply enjoy in their spare time.

"Many rural areas have "not spots", which means they have either slow broadband or no service at all. Successful bids will be able to make a real difference to local people and change their quality of life. It will also bring a tangible economic benefit by helping businesses run in rural areas, creating employment and wealth."

But he warned that the fund would not be enough to help every community with slow or non-existent broadband.

He called on telecommunications providers to not only invest in profitable urban centres but "take responsibility for bringing this technology to harder to reach areas."

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