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Matthew Hancock
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Rural areas to get connected

Sunday, 4th October 2009.

Clare residents will be the first villagers to benefit free of charge from a unique £15,000 scheme by St Edmundsbury Council to connect village halls to the Internet.

Ten rural communities are set to benefit from the ‘Connected Villages’ scheme, to give rural borough residents valuable wireless internet access from their local village hall.

The initiative, which forms part of St Edmundsbury’s rural action plan, has been designed to benefit the whole community, including home workers, local children and parish councils.

Anyone who needs access to the internet will be able to go to one of the ten village halls, which can also be used to give local residents important information technology training.

In Clare, the laptop will be used in the Old School Community Centre with the support and co-operation of the Combined Halls of Clare.

Parish councils have been invited to apply on behalf of their local communities.

The ten who are successful will also be given a laptop, which can be used by the community and during parish council meetings. Grants will also cover the cost of installing phone lines and one year’s broadband and line rental.

Cllr Sara Mildmay-White, St Edmundsbury cabinet member for community said: “Broadband penetration in towns is much higher than in rural areas, which risk being disadvantaged as services and information are increasingly delivered over the internet.

"This scheme provides both IT infrastructure and a venue for rural residents to access broadband locally."

Haverhill Online News

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