Tuesday, 26 July 2011

City Council backs broadband rollout to rural communities

Lancaster City Council will host a workshop in Hornby on Monday 8th August so rural communities can discuss the future of superfast broadband.

Lancashire County Council is leading on a new project to improve broadband provision across the county, a venture supported by the City Council on the basis that rural communities in the Lancaster area will be the first to benefit.

The meeting on will hear from two companies - BT and Commendium - who are bidding to take the project forward.

Earlier this month, telecommunications watchdog Ofcom instructed BT to cut wholesale prices for broadband in the countryside. Money Today reported that BT still remains the only internet provider in nearly two thirds of its 5,500 exchanges, which serve 12% of the UK population - and rural internet users currently pay up to £15 per month more than their urban counterparts for their service.


Commendium, who have offices in Penrith, Omagh and Belfast, are a well established business engaged in the improving of communications between clients and their customers. You can download their brochure here (PDF link).

Rural communities are being offered the chance to hear more about the project, discuss the issues and put forward their own views.

Several councils across the UK are preparing bids in connection with the roll out of rural broadband that are being co-ordinated by the Department of Media and Culture, which took on full responsibility for Broadband rollout across the UK from the Broadband Delivery UK department earlier this year.

Cumbria County Council completed its tender process for broadband services in May.
Computing UK notes that the  government pledged £530m last November to ensure that 90 per cent of households in each local authority could access super-fast broadband as part of its Comprehensive Spending Review.

Computing UK also reports that the Department for Culture, Media and Sport has also gone out to tender for up to 12 suppliers to participate in a framework agreement that will support the roll out of rural broadband until 2015. The framework is set to last for up to four years and is estimated to be worth between £750m and £2bn.

• The workshop will take place at the Hornby Institute, Main Street, Lancaster LA2 8JR and will start at 5.30pm. Anyone who is interested in taking part in the workshop should telephone 01524 582375 or email planningadminteam@lancaster.gov.uk to reserve a place.

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