ARCHIVE: Community Broadband and the role of the Regional Development Agencies
There are a number of community and third sector organisations involved in innovative initiatives aimed at opening up digital technologies to excluded communities. The Government supports the initiative of community and third sector bodies to develop their own community broadband schemes to met local need and demand.
There are a large number of excellent case studies showcasing the work of community broadband organisations. One such example is the community co-operative Cybermoor Ltd which has ensured that in the sparsely populated parish of Alston Moor, most homes have high speed broadband
The Community Broadband Network (CBN) and The Independent Networks Co-operative Association (INCA) are both umbrella organisations that provide a point of contact for private and public organisations seeking to invest in local and community networks, where they can get advice, or be signposted to sources of knowledge and expertise from which they can learn and gain help. The Government is providing support through a £150,000 grant to help support them.
Support for community broadband is being made available through the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE). In 2009, the Programme was allocated an additional £5.2 million, through the European Economic Recovery Plan (EERP), 50% of which is to be used to provide targeted support for rural community broadband. The EERP consists of European funding which is being made available to member states to stimulate the economy during the economic downturn.
At the same time that community broadband was identified for EERP funding , rural broadband was also recognised as a priority for the RDPE. One of the aims of the RDPE is to foster competitive and sustainable rural businesses and thriving rural communities. You can find out more about the RDPE via http://www.defra.gov.uk/rural/rdpe/index.htm.
Delivery of RDPE support for rural broadband is being managed by England’s Regional Development Agencies (RDAs). The RDAs have a track record of helping to drive progress in the area of broadband access and work closely with Local Authorities and other partners. We are currently working with the RDAs to agree how support through the RDPE might best be targeted to support rural broadband including community broadband projects.
Page last modified: 23 March 2010
Page published: 23 March 2010