Broadband funding announced for rural areas

Funding to find new ways of delivering superfast broadband to many of the North West’s rural areas has been announced.

The £10m cash pot from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport has been allocated to look into piloting new technologies to improve connectivity for the final 5 per cent of areas that cannot take advantage of traditional infrastructure.

Potential technologies that could be piloted using the fund include using the 4G mobile signal to deliver ‘fixed wireless’ superfast broadband and using fibre going direct to premises.

The fund is set to open for applications on 17 March, 2014.

Culture Secretary Maria Miller said: “Superfast broadband will benefit everyone in the North West – whether they need it for work, to do homework or simply to download music or films. Thousands of homes and businesses now have access and it is helping people with their everyday tasks.”

Projects in the North West can also apply for additional funding from a £250m pot on a as part of the Superfast Britain programme – and would ensure 95 per cent of UK homes and businesses have access to superfast broadband by 2017.

Initial figures estimate Lancashire could access £3.84m from the pot, Cumbria £2.86m, Cheshire £2.12m, Merseyside £700,000 and Greater Manchester £450,000.

Meanwhile, online fashion retailer Boohoo.com has revealed plans to raise £300m by floating on the AIM market.

The Manchester business expects to pay £240m towards convertible loan notes held by existing shareholders as well as spending £50m to accelerate its expansion.

Mahmud Kamani, joint chief executive, said: “We are delighted to announce that our initial public offering has been successful. The placing and Admission to AIM marks a significant step for boohoo as we invest in this exciting growth opportunity underpinned by the rapidly growing online retail market.

“We would like to welcome our new shareholders to the Company and look forward to continuing to develop our business providing market leading customer service for on-trend, value led fashion clothing and accessories as a publicly quoted company.”

Author: Martin Blythe