County Council in bid for broadband cash

Millions of pounds of government cash set aside for developing superfast broadband across the UK could be on its way to Lincolnshire County Council, if the authority’s funding bid is successful.

The council is bidding for a share of Broadband Delivery UK’s (BDUK) £530million cash pot. It estimates the cost of delivering superfast broadband to Lincolnshire by 2017, as it plans, at £70 – £100 million.

Part of the council’s broadband strategy is raising cash from the private sector. The rest of the money needed to complete the plan will come from BDUK, it is hoped.

In the council’s bid, it highlights that the best case scenario is £30 million raised from the private sector, meaning it would need £32 million from BDUK. The council’s worst case scenario would see it needing £48.7 million from BDUK funding.

According to the council’s draft bid, which is likely to be approved at its Overview and Scrutiny Management Committee on June 30 and by the County Council Executive on July 5:

“The Lincolnshire LEP (Local Enterprise Partnership) area has a critical strategic need for investment in enhanced digital connectivity to ensure universal coverage of at least ‘standard’ speed broadband by 2015 and provide every community with access to superfast broadband by 2017.

“Current levels of digital connectivity are holding back economic growth and the transformation of public services, limiting the county as a place to do business and impacting on quality of life.

“Approximately 15% of the LEP area’s population has a less than 2Mbps broadband connection or no connection at all.

“The benefits that enhanced digital connectivity will bring to the Lincolnshire LEP area will be huge and they will directly tackle the economic, demographic and service delivery and access challenges that it faces.”

The bid is expected to be formally submitted on July 8.