Council cash boost for Lancashire's rural broadband

Up to 180 more homes could be connected to superfast broadband thanks to a second injection of cash from Ribble Valley Council.

Thursday, 17th May 2018, 11:51 am
Updated Thursday, 17th May 2018, 11:56 am
Community groups Chipping Area Internet Network and Broadband for the Rural North have welcomed the news.

An extra £8,000 has been awarded to community group Chipping Area Internet Network (CHAIN) and Broadband for the Rural North (B4RN) for the installation of further broadband fibre in the village.

Chipping Coun Simon Hore said: “The internet is an essential part of everyday life, yet the task of connecting rural residents and businesses is much greater, due to lower population densities and geography, which makes the commercial case for investment more challenging.

“The CHAIN project has been made possible thanks to the hard work of volunteers and the teams who laid fibre ducting to people’s homes.

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“This additional council support will enable us to lay further fibre and bring ultrafast broadband to even more village homes.”

The scheme has already resulted in 20 village homes being connected to ultrafast broadband.

It comes after CHAIN installed a broadband hub at Chipping Village Hall last year bringing the broadband to around 800 homes in the village area from £9,700 presented by the borough council’s Voluntary Organisations Fund.

The move comes as Lancashire County Council applied for £3m of funding from the European Union to bring further superfast broadband to Lancashire “hard to reach” areas.

If successful, the county council will use a further £2m of its own budget to fund its broadband aims.

Babs Murphy, chief executive of the North and Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce said the initiative “is to be welcomed”.

Ms Murphy added: “There are many businesses operating in rural Lancashire who continue to be denied access.”

Chipping residents and community groups have invested over £120,000 in the broadband project by buying shares or making a loan.