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Cambridgeshire homes with slowest broadband to get satellite subsidy

Wednesday, March 23rd 2016 by Phil Wilkinson-Jones

People struggling with slow internet speeds in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough are being offered subsidised satellite broadband.

The scheme, part of the government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) programme, is available to those unable to find an affordable broadband service of at least 2Mbps.

Connecting Cambridgeshire has already given 100,000 homes and businesses access to fibre-based broadband.

Nationally, the rollout of superfast broadband – speeds of at least 24Mbps – is on target to reach 95% of UK premises by 2017.

The satellite scheme is one of the ways in which is the government is trying to connect the so-called ‘final 5%’ as well as meeting another target – universal access to speeds of at least 2Mbps.

“Around nine out of ten homes and businesses in the UK can now access superfast speeds,” said digital minister Ed Vaizey.

“We are making great progress rolling out new infrastructure, but it’s a massive engineering project and won’t happen overnight.

“The satellite scheme offers immediate assistance to those homes and businesses in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough with the slowest speeds, all part of our plan to make the UK one of the most digitally-connected places in the world.”

Those benefitting from the scheme are able to choose the features of the satellite broadband service they require, depending on their broadband needs.

Councillor Ian Bates, from Cambridgeshire County Council, said: “Connecting Cambridgeshire has already rolled out superfast broadband to thousands of homes and businesses that would not be able to get it otherwise.

'More work to do'

“But we know there’s more work to do and we now have additional funding to connect some of the most challenging rural areas of the county by 2020.”

Mr Bates, chairman of the economy and environment committee that oversees Connecting Cambridgeshire, added: “We welcome any initiative that helps our communities to get connected including using alternative solutions such as mobile, satellite and wireless for properties that are beyond the reach of fibre broadband.”

Earlier this week, the boss of a satellite broadband company said the government’s subsidy scheme is too complicated and left consumers subject to a “postcode lottery” in terms of what they can receive.

Andrew Walwyn, CEO of Europasat, said the BDUK-run scheme could learn lessons from the Welsh Broadband Cymru Voucher Scheme, which he said had resulted in a “huge number of orders”.

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