Villages cleared to get superfast broadband

Group photo at Hooe Youth Club and Forum
Group photo at Hooe Youth Club and Forum

PEOPLE living in rural areas within the Bexhill and Battle constituency are on track to get superfast broadband, according to their MP Greg Barker.

He said a major hurdle had been cleared in securing European Union approval for a £530 million investment in rural broadband across the UK.

Welcoming the decision, Mr Barker said: “Britain is in a global race and we cannot allow rural areas like Ninfield and Hooe to get left behind because of bad infrastructure.

“This constituency will now get the infrastructure to match its aspiration, providing local people and businesses with the tools they need to get on and prosper.”

Wealden district and Hooe parish councillor Pam Doodes has been a leading campaigner for improved broadband in the villages.

She said: “Not only are there numerous small businesses working in Ninfield and Hooe, there is also a growing number of people working from home. The most important item in their tool box is high-speed electronic communication.

“Broadband is also vital for young people to help expand their knowledge and research to support their education.

“So much is now possible on-line, from shopping, contacting relatives at home and overseas, research and general social communication, so superfast broadband would benefit everyone, young and old alike.”

Superfast broadband is defined as having potential headline download access speeds greater than 24 Megabytes per second.

EU approval means that work can start on laying the cables for local authority broadband projects around the UK.

In East Sussex, it is hoped to cover 99 per cent of the county, with procurement due for completion by next summer.

The first schemes to go through are expected in Wales and Surrey.

East Sussex County Council has applied for £10.6 million funding from central Government and will itself add a further £15 million to that figure.