Ultrafast Broadband application

Ballymena Town Hall. Editorial image.

Ballymena Town Hall. Editorial image.

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Up to 250 businesses across the borough could receive a total of £750,000 to access ultrafast broadband if a council application succeeds.

The ‘Super Connected Cities’ Scheme, administered by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment (DETI), would see each of the 250 businesses receive a £3,000 voucher which could be used to fund equipment and relevant infrastructure for ultrafast broadband.

The scheme is part of the £100m Super Connected Cities fund which the Chancellor of the Exchequer rolled out across the UK in 2012. At that stage, Belfast and Londonderry participated in the scheme, receiving 800 vouchers worth around £2m to local businesses.

This month, Chief Executive of Mid and East Antrim Council Anne Donaghy applied for the local authority to enter the scheme after a further £40 million was made available to it. If successful, the bid would see the vouchers offered to local businesses, social enterprises and charitable organisations.

Last week, members of the Council’s Economic Growth & Development Committee voted to retrospectively approve the application submitted by Mrs Donaghy to DETI to participate in the scheme for 250 vouchers at £3,000 each.

A council report on the issue stated, however, that “there will be strong competition to secure our bid”.