HAMPSHIRE is to benefit from additional funds from the Government to help rural communities get access to superfast broadband.

An extra £250million has been made available to local authorities across the country, and Hampshire County Council has been awarded nearly £8million from the pot.

Hampshire County Council, in partnership with BT, is now set to deliver phase two of the Superfast Broadband Programme, to extend coverage of superfast services to an additional 8,000 homes and businesses.

From April to June, residents and businesses will be able to switch to superfast broadband in large parts of Basingstoke, Long Sutton, Odiham, and Overton.

Basingstoke MP and Culture Secretary Maria Miller said: “Superfast broadband will benefit everyone – whether they need it for work, to do homework or simply to download music or films. Thousands of homes and businesses now have access and it is helping people with their everyday tasks.”

Hampshire County Council leader Councillor Roy Perry added: “Central Government has made £7.69m of match-funding money available to Hampshire to extend the availability of superfast broadband, and this news is very welcome.

“We are making good progress with our work to make superfast broadband speeds available to 90 per cent of homes and businesses in Hampshire by 2015. Hampshire County Council, together with district and borough partners have invested £5m into the overall £13.8m project.”

He added: “This is bringing internet services to people in the country’s rural communities who would otherwise be left with limited access, or none at all, because the commercial market will not reach them.

“We are now looking at the best way we can get maximum value for money in the way these funds are used in order to meet our objectives and those of Government.”