Green Light for Better Broadband in Lincolnshire
22nd November 2012
The European Union has approved plans to invest public money in better broadband Internet for Lincolnshire – and that’s great news for the region’s businesses, according to the Greater Lincolnshire Local Enterprise Partnership.
Ursula Lidbetter MBE, Chair of the Greater Lincolnshire Local Enterprise Partnership, says the EU’s announcement of ‘state aid approval’ means Lincolnshire can now press ahead with improving broadband coverage, which is one of the LEP’s key priorities.
“This is great news as it means that procurement can now start on the broadband infrastructure programme for Lincolnshire,” said Ursula.
“Better broadband Internet coverage is a priority for businesses in our region and a key ambition in the Greater Lincolnshire LEP’s Business Plan.
“We know that many businesses, particularly those in rural areas, are hampered by the lack of a reliable high-speed broadband connection. Better infrastructure will mean Lincolnshire businesses can grow, trade more effectively online and explore new export markets, and it will also help our area to attract inward investment.
“We are working with Lincolnshire County Council on this important programme and we will continue to support the councils in northern Lincolnshire with their broadband plans.”
The announcement from Brussels paves the way for Lincolnshire County Council to start its roll-out of superfast broadband across Lincolnshire next year. The council aims to bring next-generation broadband (a minimum of 24Mbps) to 90% of county premises by 2015, with a guarantee of at least 2Mbps for the remaining 10 per cent.
Around £57m of public and private sector money will be invested in improving Lincolnshire’s broadband infrastructure, including £10m from Lincolnshire County Council, £4m from the district councils and £300,000 from the European Regional Development Fund.
Maria Miller, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, commented: “Finally getting the green light from Brussels will mean a huge boost for the British economy.
“Superfast broadband is essential to creating growth, jobs and prosperity and the delay has caused frustration within Government.
“Today’s announcement means that we can crack on with delivering broadband plans, boosting growth and jobs around the country.”
Notes to Editors
- State aid refers to forms of assistance from a public body, or publicly-funded body which has the potential to distort competition and affect trade between member states of the European Union.
- The European Commission monitors and controls State Aid in the EU. Member states are obliged to notify and seek approval from the commission before granting State Aid. This gives the Commission the opportunity to approve or refuse to approve the proposed measure.
- Lincolnshire residents can support the campaign for better broadband by adding their name to the list of almost 10,000 people who have registered their support at www.onlincolnshire.org. Those without access to the Internet can register by calling 01522 782066.
- The Greater Lincolnshire Local Enterprise Partnership is a body led by the private sector which aims to improve conditions for infrastructure and doing business in the Greater Lincolnshire area.
- For more information about the Greater Lincolnshire LEP please contact Ruth Carver or Carolyn Tuscher at the LEP Secretariat on 01522 550515, or visit www.greaterlincolnshirelep.co.uk.