FENLANDER: Council urges backing for �5m bid to bring superfast broadband to Fenland

PEOPLE in Fenland are being urged to back a �5million bid to Government that would bring the latest superfast broadband to homes and businesses across the district – including the most rural areas.

If successful, the bid will make sure that rural areas have the same access to high speed internet as people who live in busy towns and cities.

Internet providers are already planning to lay new fibre optic cables in the more urban areas of Cambridgeshire over the next few years but this will still leave about a quarter of people in the county without access to superfast services.

Fenland District Council has joined forces with its counterparts in Huntingdonshire, East and South Cambridgeshire and Cambridgeshire County Council to submit the bid, which has been lodged with the East of England Development Agency (EEDA).

They are pressing for Cambridgeshire to be shortlisted as one of three areas where initial pilot projects are to be carried out. The pilots will then be used as templates for further schemes to be rolled out later in other rural areas.

The level of local demand for improved services will be one factor in determining the choice. The final decision rests with the Government.

Councillor Phil Webb, portfolio holder responsible for broadband issues, urged people to register their support for the bid online at the Eastern Region Broadband Uplift Scheme website www.erebusonline.org.uk as soon as possible.

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“People in rural areas are too often deprived of decent internet access and it is particularly important for businesses,” he said. “Improving the speed of services will not only help those that are already based in Fenland, it will also encourage more to come here.”

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