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8 UK rural broadband projects win share of £10m

Eight rural broadband projects have been awarded UK government grants from a £10 million fund that is looking to take superfast broadband to the hardest to reach areas of the country.

Related: A third of rural residents say their broadband isn’t fast enough for web browsing

The eight schemes, which include far flung parts of Scotland, Wales, Northumberland, Somerset and Devon, use a variety of different technologies including satellite and fixed wireless in order to provide residents with the best quality broadband possible.

“Our nationwide rollout is progressing at a terrific rate and each week superfast speeds are becoming a reality for tens of thousands of homes and businesses in rural areas across the UK. We know how important this has become which is why we are investing £10 million in these pilots to explore how we can extend coverage beyond the 95% of the UK we are on track to deliver by 2017,” stated Culture Secretary Sajid Javid.

North Lincolnshire’s Quickline was awarded the highest grant of over £2 million to test a range of line of sight, near line of sight and non-line of sight technologies using wireless Internet technology. Airwave, meanwhile, will work in North Yorkshire to deploy four next generation wireless systems that use LTE small cells and TV white space. Welsh customers will see a hybrid fixed line/fixed wireless superfast network developed by AB Internet that will be able deliver speeds of up to 50mbps.

Avanti is piloting a satellite broadband system for Scotland and Northern Ireland with Satellite Internet doing the same in Devon and Somerset. In Northumberland, Cybermoor is trying to implement a model that will take investment from the local community and plunge it into a high speed fibre optic network.

Down in Kent, MLL will aggregate a range of small wireless networks to provide access, and, lastly, in Hampshire, Call Flow will attempt to combine a mix of fibre, fixed-wireless, and sub-loop unbundling into one fibre network.

Related: Rural broadband roll out attacked over BT’s monopoly and poor mapping

“This is a very useful initiative and we are keen to help local authorities and Independent Networks Co-operative Association [INCA] members learn from the trials. There is a huge amount of experience, professionalism and entrepreneurial enthusiasm in the independent sector that can play a big role in creating Britain’s future digital infrastructure,” Malcolm Corbett, chief executive of INCA.

The pilot projects are part of the government’s plans to target the remaining five per cent not covered by the national promise to roll out superfast fibre-optic broadband to 95 per cent of the population by 2017.