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Durham County Council is aiming to secure £9 million in funding to deliver super-fast broadband to local residents and businesses.

Councillors are hoping to build a county-wide fibre broadband infrastructure, which will serve rural not-spots including Weardale, Crook and Derwentside.

An application is being made to Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK), the body responsible for distributing the government's £830 million fund for improving broadband coverage in rural areas.

Councillor Neil Foster, Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Economic Development, told the Northern Echo that broadband has become "an essential requirement" for modern living.

He claimed that fast broadband services are "key to enabling a modern economy".

"In County Durham, we have a disproportionately high number of areas where high-speed internet connection isn't available," Cllr Foster stated.

"BDUK funding would enable us to provide coverage in those areas that are currently under-served and are not likely to benefit from services provided by other suppliers."

The government has pledged to deliver nationwide 2Mb broadband by 2015, in a bid to reduce the broadening digital divide in Britain.

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