Shropshire

Shropshire superfast rural broadband plans approved

Plans to install superfast broadband in rural Shropshire have been given the go ahead by the government.

It was earlier in doubt after Telford and Wrekin Council pulled out of the joint project with Shropshire Council.

Telford and Wrekin said it needed to make £40m budget savings by 2014 and could not justify spending its share of £700,000 towards the scheme.

Shropshire Council has allocated £8.2m, which has been match-funded by the government.

Members of Shropshire Council's Conservative administration met with Culture Minister Ed Vaizey earlier in the week to present their case.

'Creating jobs'

After approval from Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK), Shropshire Council can now approach a private partner to install broadband in rural parts of the county, excluding Telford.

BDUK, part of the Department for Culture Media and Sport, was set up by the government to deliver its broadband strategy.

Martin Taylor-Smith, portfolio-holder for Information technology at Shropshire Council, said: "We're seeing broadband for rural areas as being a key part of jobs and creating jobs in the area.

"We see it as vital to the lifeblood and getting the economy in Shropshire up to speed."

Shaun Davies, from the Labour-led Telford and Wrekin Council said: "In an ideal world £700,000 is an investment we'd like to make. We're not living in an ideal world."

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