Low uptake rate for Oxford broadband scheme

A £3.1m government grant to help firms in Oxford access superfast broadband has received just two applications.

The scheme, open to businesses with fewer than 250 workers, offers up to £3,000 to cover connection costs.

In a statement The Department of Culture Media and Sport said: "Oxford only launched its scheme last month and we expect to see considerable interest in its scheme in the coming months."

Businesses have until March 2015 to apply through Oxford City Council.

Bob Bradley, of Oxfordshire Chamber of Commerce said: "There aren't that many companies that are big enough to need this sort of speed - it's somewhat confused and too late really."

Portsmouth and Brighton, which are also offering the grants, have seen a low take-up too.

Portsmouth's scheme, which has been running since December, has received four applications and Brighton has had nine applications submitted since the end of February.

The Department of Culture Media and Sport claimed the scheme had received hundreds of applications elsewhere in the country.

A total of £150m has been pledged to boost broadband speeds in 22 cities.

The plan first announced in 2012 aims to have networks up and running by 2015, the year the government hopes to make the UK the fastest broadband nation in Europe.

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