Bid to boost broadband in rural parts of Doncaster

Claire White had problems with her broadband in Doncaster
Claire White had problems with her broadband in Doncaster
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Plans have been drawn up to help the estimated 6,749 Doncaster residents who cannot access superfast broadband because of where they live.

Doncaster's cabinet has given its backing to a scheme which would aim to close a gap which is believed to mean that two per cent of the population in the borough will not be able to get superfast broadband under present plans.

Mayor Ros Jones' cabinet this week agreed to put up £780,000 in match funding, as part of a scheme which also needs councils in Barnsley, Rotherham and Sheffield to contribute to the fund, The figures contributed are related to the size of their populations.

The council is expected to get the money back in the future, and the councils are then hoping to get £3.5 million from a Government pot.

A coucnil report stated: Superfast Broadband is currently being rolled out across South Yorkshire with a national government target of 95 per cent coverage by December 31 2017 and a further 3 per cent to deliver thereafter taking that up to 98 per cent coverage.

"This leaves two per cent of South Yorkshire not covered at all, this is made up of mostly rural or new properties, estimated to be 23,000 premises, of which 6,749 (29-30 per cent) premises are reported to be in Doncaster. If we do nothing, these rural communities and businesses could be left behind our more populated areas by not having access to what has become an essential utility for every household."

Mayor Ros Jones said the plans also needed to be approved by the Sheffield City Region combined authority before they could move forward.

She said: "We want people to have the benefits of superfast broadband."

Businesswoman Claire White, of Barnburgh, who was unable to get fast broadband until this summer, said she thought it was important that the council backed the plans.

She said: "I think its as important as electricity or gas these days. It is needed for everything from shopping to booking doctors appointments."