A SUPERFAST broadband scheme could be piloted in a coastal region which currently experiences one of the worst connectivity rates in the county.
Lincolnshire County council has selected Ingoldmells, Chapel St Leonards, Willoughby and Sloothby as one of three pilot regions to receive vastly improved internet speeds for an 18 month trial.
Ingoldmells Rural ward holder Coun Colin Davie has welcomed the news and the benefits it should bring to businesses and residents.
He said: “I have been a passionate advocate at the county council for the role that enhanced broadband can play in connecting people and business.
“Our coastline and rural communities need to be connected to the much wider world of opportunity that exists in our modern world.
“Huge opportunities exist for business, marketing and simply staying in touch with family and friends. I am delighted that my county division has been chosen as one of the pilot areas.”
The project forms part of the county council’s ‘digital vision’ to ensure that at least 90 per cent of businesses and homes have access to superfast, next generation broadband by 2015, with near universal coverage by 2017.
The overall cost of delivering the project county-wide is estimated to cost approximately £57million of public and private investment from local authorities, the government and service providers.
To help inform the project’s delivery the council has secured £300,000 from the European Regional Development Fund to carry out trials in the worst ‘not-spots’ throughout the county.
An estimated 99 per cent of the Ingoldmells ward is unable to access broadband at speeds of 2Mbps or faster. It is hoped that by delivering the project here, it will be possible to gauge the potential impact of superfast broadband enamblement on similar ‘not-spots’ throughout the county.
The trial is hoped to commence in September but first a consultation must be carried out to identify whether broadband service providers have any intention to deliver superfast broadband themselves.
If the council cannot prove that there are no plans to do so, state aid rules would prevent it from carrying out the project itself.