Lancashire targets £60m in funding for broadband
25 July 2011
Economic development bosses are currently bidding to bring £60m into Lancashire to develop the next generation of broadband access.
The Government has allocated a total of £530m nationwide for broadband and asked areas to bid for a share of this fund.
Lancashire has applied for £13m from the government pot and Jeremy Hunt MP, Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport, is due to announce later this month how the funding will be split.
A further bid for £16.5m has been put in to the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), to be announced later in the year.
If successful, these bids would total just under £30m and would need to be matched by a similar amount of support from the commercial sector.
Edwin Booth, Chairman of the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership (LEP), said: "Attracting major funding will help to develop a sustainable economy in Lancashire.
"The introduction of next-generation broadband across the whole county by 2014 would further unlock the business potential that exists here in Lancashire to generate growth from the economy.
"Next-generation broadband could help to transform business by increasing the ability of companies to develop new products and expand into other services."
The 16 MPs that represent Lancashire constituencies have been contacted to show their support for the bids in Westminster.
Next-generation broadband describes a combination of infrastructure and technology that delivers very high-speed broadband access, allowing businesses and residents to benefit from a range of information, education, entertainment and business services.
The plan in Lancashire is to create a countywide network by 2014. Funding would come from a mix of sources including the public sector, European funding and the private sector.
Improved internet access would provide people in Lancashire with a host of new services and help with raising overall quality of life - as well as introducing new opportunities for business in the county.
If Lancashire gets this funding, it will ensure that the county is able to play its part in building the best superfast broadband network in Europe by 2015.
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