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Last Updated:  Thursday, 27 February, 2003, 15:51 GMT
EU funds regional broadband
Lincoln cathedral
Lincoln businesses will benefit from fast net services
The move to bring fast net services to remoter areas of the UK continues apace as Lincolnshire council puts broadband at the top of its agenda.

Fed up with waiting for BT and other companies to turn the county on to broadband, the council is using a 7m grant from the European Union to make sure businesses and residents are on the right side of the digital divide.

"Parts of Lincolnshire won't get broadband for between five and 10 years," said Jenny Gammon, Deputy Head of Development at Lincolnshire County Council.

"We will underwrite the demand to make sure the European money is targeted in the right places," she added.

Grassroots funding

Denis MacShane, Europe Minister
This is a great example of European money making a difference at the grassroots
Denis MacShane, Europe Minister
Businesses will be the main target of the campaign but residents will also benefit.

The council will put its broadband bids out to tender and expects a variety of technologies, including satellite and wireless, to be used in the project.

Europe Minister Denis MacShane was in Lincoln to launch the project.

"It's vital that rural areas are not left behind in the broadband revolution. This is a great example of European money making a difference at the grassroots," he said.

The needs of rural residents and those in towns not served by current technologies are slowly being addressed.

As well as a raft of community projects using wireless to reach out to remote areas, the big players are also now taking responsibility for bridging the digital divide.

BT is convinced that it can reach out to 80% of the population with a series of partnerships in rural areas by 2005.

With a little help from the government in terms of offering affordable and useful wireless licenses, this can be extended to 90% according to Pierre Danon, head of BT Retail.

It is also hoping that its recently-launched Midband service, which offers slower speeds but a wider range than existing broadband technologies, can fill the gaps.

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18 Feb 03 |  England

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