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Culture secretary Maria Miller

Swindon and Wiltshire get £5 million to boost superfast broadband

Almost £5 million of Government money for superfast broadband will help business start-ups and job creation in some of the hardest to reach rural areas in Swindon, Wiltshire and South Gloucestershire, culture secretary Maria Miller announced this week.

The nationwide rollout is a key part of the Government’s long-term economic plan to secure Britain’s future by providing better access to superfast broadband, and in allocating funding the Government has worked to ensure as many families and businesses as possible benefit, she said.

Local projects in the South West will now receive additional funding from a £250m pot, with the hardest to reach locations amongst those who stand to benefit most. Wiltshire, Swindon and South Gloucestershire – whose local authorities are working in partnership with BT – to deliver super fast broadband to rural communities – will receive £4.97 million.

This funding is in addition to the £1.2bn already invested by central and local Government and will ensure 95% of UK homes and businesses have access to superfast broadband by 2017.

As well as improvements in the productivity of broadband- firms, faster broadband will create an additional 56,000 jobs in the UK by 2024, and the work involved in the current roll out is expected to provide a £1.5 billion boost to local economies, with approximately 35,000 job-years created or safeguarded over the period to 2016, according to official estimates.

By 2024, the Government’s current investments in faster broadband will be boosting rural economies by £275m every month, or around £9m every day.

Isobel Brown, director of the Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “This investment in broadband will provide a massive boost to businesses in Swindon and Wiltshire.

‘High-speed, high-grade broadband is an essential ingredient in helping local business to increase their productivity, efficiency and growth, and to compete in an increasingly global marketplace.

‘This investment will also help the area to unlock its potential for growth in the digital sector, which will provide long term opportunities for the future.”