A NEW scheme has been launched to help businesses and individuals in Tenbury and the Teme Valley to get better broadband.

Worcestershire County Council announced two new schemes designed to help even more of the county’s households and businesses to get high-speed fibre broadband.

The first is a co-funding initiative, where the costs of deploying the expensive infrastructure is shared between the County Council, Openreach and local residents wanting to upgrade.

Meanwhile, local firms wanting to improve their broadband speeds can apply for one of the County Council’s new business broadband vouchers to help them with the cost of upgrading.

These two new schemes are part of the authority’s drive to reach the final four per cent of county households and businesses not yet covered by any public or private sector roll-out programme.

The co-funding scheme – known as a Local Body Partnership - aims to bring high-speed broadband to more of the county’s smallest, remote communities not yet earmarked for any public or private sector roll-outs, by sharing the infrastructure and installation costs, which would otherwise be too expensive.

Worcestershire County Council has set aside £500,000 to support communities through the scheme, which can be used to contribute towards money raised by eligible communities to make the technology available.

The Business Connection Voucher Scheme, funded through the European Regional Development Fund, will help local businesses get connected by offering a voucher of up to £1,500 to each eligible business in need of faster fibre broadband. The scheme will assist businesses to meet up to half of the costs of installing a fibre broadband connection to their premises.

In addition to the new schemes, that allow communities and businesses to take control of their future broadband provision, Worcestershire County Council is seeking additional funding from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

“Bringing the latest technology to the final four per cent of Worcestershire premises is challenging and requires innovative solutions,” said Ken Pollock who represents Tenbury on Worcestershire County Council where he holds an economic development portfolio.

“Our co-funding scheme for communities and the voucher scheme for businesses are just two of the ways where we are working hard to ensure our most rural communities have access to superfast broadband.”