COUNCILS in Cambridgeshire are bidding for £15million of Government funding to extend high-speed broadband to rural areas – but they need business and public support if they are to succeed.

COUNCILS in Cambridgeshire are bidding for £15million of Government funding to extend high-speed broadband to rural areas – but they need business and public support if they are to succeed.

Two years ago, Huntingdonshire District Council, business leaders and the industry regulator Ofcom staged the first-ever public meeting, in St Ives, to investigate (among other things) the impact of poor internet speeds on businesses and residents in outlying areas.

Ofcom clearly took away the message, but little has happened since.

HDC’s economic development team now hopes to use the public sector broadband purchasing power of the Cambridgeshire Public Sector Network (CPSN) project to facilitate general high speed broadband provision in rural areas.

But it needs additional funding for which it is seeking the support of Huntingdonshire residents and businesses by asking them to register their need for higher speed broadband on the EREBUS website. www.erebusonline.org.uk.

The council is part of a Cambridgeshire bid for part of £15m of Government funding, made available for three pilot broadband projects

“The competition for this funding will be fierce and, although the Cambridgeshire application is in a relatively strong position, it has fewer EREBUS registrations captured compared with other competing areas,” a council spokesman said.

Councillor Ken Churchill, whose executive responsibilities include economic development, added: “This is a rare potential opportunity to address a significant part of rural broadband needs. If this application is to be successful, I urge as many residents and business as possible to register their high speed broadband needs on the EREBUS website.”

INFORMATION: EREBUS (Eastern Region Broadband Uplift Scheme) aims to record as much demand for next generation broadband services as possible. This will be used to demonstrate that in some areas there is sufficient demand to make commercial investment worthwhile.

Erebus (or Erebos) was a Greek god – son of Chaos and father of, among others, Nemesis, the goddess of vengeance.