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Community groups in Kent will soon be able to bid for a share of the £1.5 million fund set up by the local council to boost broadband speeds in the region.

Kent County Council has announced that parish councils, community groups and local authorities will be able to apply for grants worth up to £100,000 to improve their internet connections.

Commenting on the new initiative, Councillor Kevin Lynes told the BBC: "Having access to fast broadband is as important as any other utility service."

He added that the successful bids will make a real difference to people's lives and dramatically boost their quality of life. Mr Lynes said the £1.5 million fund should go some way toward stamping out rural 'not spots' in the county.

He added that while the cash for such projects was limited, he hoped that internet service providers would do their bit in "bringing this technology to 'harder to reach' areas".

Meanwhile, MP Julian Sturdy and Culture and Media Secretary Jeremy Hunt recently praised North Yorkshire for pushing ahead with innovative broadband initiatives.

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