Published: 09:00, 20 June 2014
| Updated: 09:04, 20 June 2014
Nearly £1m of Government cash will be given to a telecoms firm to explore ways of bringing superfast broadband to remote parts of Kent.
Buckinghamshire-based MLL will receive £957,900 after proposing to aggregate small wireless networks across the county.
The successful bid was part of £10m given out by the Government this week, after it announced in January it wanted companies to come forward with ideas to deal with hard-to-reach rural regions.
Culture Secretary Sajid Javid said: “Our nationwide rollout is progressing at a terrific rate and each week superfast speeds are becoming a reality for tens of thousands of homes and businesses in rural areas across the UK.
“We know how important this has become which is why we are investing £10m in these pilots to explore how we can extend coverage beyond the 95% of the UK we are on track to deliver by 2017.”
Countryside Alliance head of policy Sarah Lee said: “This is very welcome news and a great stride forward in the drive to improve rural connectivity.
"We have always said that a mix of technologies, rather than fixed line broadband, would answer to the question of how to provide superfast broadband to the final 5% of homes and businesses in rural areas.”
High-speed fibre broadband is available to more than 550,000 Kent homes and businesses.
“The arrival of fibre in more parts of Kent can really help local firms in these economically challenging times, opening up new ways of working and speeding up vital operations...” - BT's Peter Cowen
BT announced this week that about two thirds of premises in the county now have access to the technology.
The £2.5bn commercial roll out has reached communities living in Ashford, Maidstone, Folkestone, Broadstairs, Dartford, Thanet, Gillingham, Sittingbourne, Ramsgate, Gravesend and Tunbridge Wells.
The company is spending more than £3bn on deploying fibre broadband.
Research by Regeneris Consulting suggests that within 15 years fibre broadband could bolster the economy of a typical town by £143m and create 225 new jobs, 140 new start-up businesses and 1,000 more homeworkers.
BT’s regional director for the South East Peter Cowen said: “BT’s fibre network is expanding rapidly across the South East bringing a boost for local economies wherever it goes.
“The arrival of fibre in more parts of Kent can really help local firms in these economically challenging times, opening up new ways of working and speeding up vital operations, such as file and data transfers, conferencing and computer back-up, all of which may also help cut costs.”
More by this authorChris Price