Rural Thurrock to benefit from superfast broadband.

THURROCK residents living living in rural areas are set to benefit from faster internet speeds after the government allocated £362m to improve broadband connections in England and Scotland.

The culture secretary, Jeremy Hunt, said on Tuesday that the fund would ensure that 90% of hard-to-reach communities with “painfully slow” internet speeds could have access to superfast broadband by 2015.

“Remote” areas such as Orsett. Bulphan, East Tilbury and Fobbing should be able to download or stream high-quality movies.

English counties will get £294m and Scotland £68.8m to bring high-speed internet to areas not catered for by the private sector. The allocations come out of the £530m “digital Britain” fund commitment by the chancellor, George Osborne, earlier this year.

Essex (Essex, Southend-on-Sea, Thurrock) will benefit from a cash injection of £6,460,000 in total.

“I am absolutely determined that the UK will have the best superfast broadband network in Europe by 2015 – one that we all benefit from,” Hunt told the BBC. “Fast broadband is absolutely vital to our economic growth, to delivering public services effectively, and to conducting our everyday lives.

“But some areas of the UK are missing out, with many rural and hard-to-reach communities suffering painfully slow internet connections or no coverage at all. We are not prepared to let some parts of our country get left behind in the digital age.”

English councils and private enterprises will be put in charge of delivering the broadband rollout, with delivery plans and match-funding expected to be drawn up to set timetables.

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