Bath and North East Somerset Council has pledged to help develop high speed broadband within its jurisdiction, by agreeing to invest £475,000 in a proposed cabling infrastructure scheme.
The new project is expected in turn to benefit from funds from the European Regional Development Fund, the national government-backed Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) scheme, and private investment.
Total funding for the project is expected to amount to £2.724 million.
The council has made its bid for BDUK finance in association with Somerset County Council, Devon County Council, Plymouth County Council, Torbay Council, and North Somerset Council.
Commenting on the decision, Councillor Cherry Beath, Bath and North East Somerset Council’s cabinet member for sustainable communities, said:
‘The cabinet recognises how important that broadband access is for communities and creating the business environment to create jobs with economic prosperity’.
Councillor Beath added that the cabinet had ‘listened to the views of local people, particularly in rural areas’, which were acknowledged as being ‘susceptible to low internet speeds’.
Speeds obtainable under the proposed scheme are expected to reach 20 megabytes per second for 85% of premises by 2015.
High speed business broadband has been seen as one of the key requirements needed to help businesses operate on a level playing field with their national and international counterparts.
In addition to enabling businesses to participate in online marketing, and to effectively build and maintain client relationships via email, social media and online sales, superfast broadband also permits businesses to make use of key added value services such as internet protocol (IP) telephony and business VoIP (voice over internet protocol).
The latter services can not only help companies manage their internal business phone systems more effectively; but can also facilitate the remote dialling and receiving of calls via the same phone number, regardless of location.