EU boost for county broadband campaign

The EU has given ‘state-aid approval’ to Government plans that will see public money invested in improving broadband infrastructure.

The decision paves the way for Lincolnshire County Council to start its roll out of superfast broadband across Lincolnshire next year. The council is aiming to bring superfast broadband to 90 per cent of properties by 2015, with a guarantee of at least standard broadband for the remaining 10 per cent.

Coun Kelly Smith, the council’s executive member with responsibility for finance and HR, said: “We welcome the news of the EU approval. Unfortunately, the delays in this coming through have pushed back the original timetable by a couple of months, which is very frustrating. However, now we have the green light, we can get on with making this happen.

“We’re still ahead of most other authorities and we’ve been working with potential private-sector partners since the summer. We hope to have the contracts signed before the end of March. That means we should be out there making improvements from early summer next year.”

The project will see around £57m of public and private sector money invested in improving the county’s broadband infrastructure, including £10m from the county council, £4m from the district authorities and £300,000 from the European Regional Development Fund.