Friday, 26 March 2010


Rural communities throughout the South East can now apply for capital grants to increase their access to broadband.

The funding programme is expected to improve local services, stimulate economic development and increase social inclusion
Through the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE), £375,000 has been made available until the end of 2010. The grants are provided through the European Economic Recovery Programme and managed by the South East England Development Agency (SEEDA).

Robert Crawford, Operations Director as SEEDA, says: “SEEDA has worked in partnership with local authorities and telecommunication companies to bring broadband to rural communities across the South East. This grant funding will help rural communities compete with areas that already have sufficient broadband access and promote growth throughout the local economy.”

The funding will provide access to broadband infrastructure or upgrade the existing network to ensure a minimum speed of 2Mb/s is reached. Expressions of interest must be received by 31 May 2010 and fall within areas which have already been identified as ‘white’ or ‘grey’*.

Robert adds: “SEEDA’s broadband investment to date is estimated to have provided a broadband service to over 1,500 premises, 10% of which have been rural based businesses. It is essential that the South East builds on this to provide every community, regardless of its location, with the same opportunities.”

More information about the RDPE fund for Rural Community Broadband is available by visiting the SEEDA website at

For further information, please contact David Cooper at SEEDA on 01483 501304

*White areas are where broadband networks do not at present exist and private investment is unlikely to build a network within three years. “Grey” areas are where only one network is in place or planned for deployment within three years, and there are no plans by any operator to deploy a second network within three years.

____posted March 26th 2010____
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