As many as 100 towns across the UK will eligible for funding to improve broadband in their area as part of the government’s ‘Town Deals’ initiative.
The £3.6 billion fund is aimed to supporting town regeneration for areas with “industrial and economic heritage” that have not benefited from economic growth as much as other parts of the country.
The vast majority of eligible areas are located in the North and the Midlands – most of which voted to leave the EU in the 2016 Referendum.
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Improved connectivity is specified as one of the vehicles to drive economic growth, along with investments in transport, skills and culture. Up to £25 million will be invested in each location, with applications for funding set to open soon.
“Ensuring that prosperity and opportunities are available to everyone in this country, not just those in London or our biggest cities, is at the heart of the mission of this government,” said local government secretary Robert Jenrick.
“We want to level-up our great towns, raising living standards and ensuring they can thrive with transformative investment in transport, technology, skills and culture.”
The government has invested billions in government-assisted broadband projects over the past decade, helping bring superfast broadband to areas that would not have been otherwise commercially viable.
The most recent of these was the Universal Service Obligation (USO), which will allow anyone in the UK to demand a decent broadband connection.
The government wants full fibre coverage to be achieved by 2033, however Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said he wants this target to be brought forward.
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