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Rutland County Council (RCC) is to contribute £200,000 towards the cost of equipping the small, mainly rural county with high-speed broadband.

The money, to be taken from council reserves, will go towards meeting an estimated £1.6 billion bill for the planned network infrastructure upgrade.

Digital Rutland is aiming to deliver a minimum of 10Mb broadband to 95 per cent of businesses in the county by 2013, and also 85 per cent of households.

RCC's Chief Executive Helen Briggs explained that the council is currently going through a tender process to identify a partner for the Digital Rutland project.

"This is open to any business that thinks they can work with the council to deliver high-speed broadband to homes and businesses across the county," she stated.

"Some of our villages struggle to get a half-decent download speed which in this day and age is a real constraint."

Ms Briggs said that for a local business, broadband can make the different between being able to trade competitively or not.

Rutland is the smallest county in England, with a population of just 35,000.

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