Rural Broadband Resposibility is on 'Big Society'

The government's idea of a "big society" could now be key to the development of broadband in rural areas.

David Cameron's controversial idea of a 'big society' was key to his conservative election campaign and endorsed communities joining together to set up their own schools or libraries. Now it seems that the coalition government is keen to use this model to extend broadband into rural communities.

Caroline Spelman, the secretary of state for the environment, food and rural affairs spoken out about these latest ideas in the house of commons last week, saying: "This is a community opportunity. There are some excellent examples of the big society at work in Northumberland and Rutland, where communities have come together to ensure that good broadband access is available to all."

After BT and other telecoms firms said it wasn't economical to invest in Rutland, the communities residents raised £37,000 to launch their own broadband network for 200 homes.

The government has today announced three pilot schemes to assess how much government support will be necessary to ensure all UK homes have access to broadband. The locations of the pilots has not yet been announced.

Last week's budget saw George Osbourne scrap the Labour government's election plans to pay for broadband using a 50p tax on every landline. However, it has not yet been announced how the government plans to fund rural broadband, and no targets have been set for the rollout of the scheme.

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