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Initial backing for Northumberland fibre broadband plan

Thursday, March 29th 2012 by Editorial
Defra has signalled its support for a super-fast broadband scheme in Rothbury.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has given initial approval to a plan that aims to boost fibre optic broadband access in Northumberland.

An application from the county council to deliver super-fast broadband to Rothbury and the surrounding areas has been backed by Defra, which is set to award a grant of £500,000 to the initiative, reports the Journal.

Officials are also considering bids for funding in Otterburn and Bellingham, Felton and Swarland, and Bywell.

If the grant is allocated to the Rothbury project, Defra expects the amount to be matched by investment from a private sector telecoms firm such as BT.

County councillor Steven Bridgett commented: "Super-fast broadband is no longer a luxury.

"We have got a high density of farms who need to do their tax returns to Defra and they have appalling speeds to do this."

Just nine per cent of Northumberland is able to access super-fast broadband services, according to the latest Ofcom figures.