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Two county councils are aiming to procure a shared wholesale broadband service capable of delivering 2Mb download speeds in rural areas.

Gloucestershire County Council has teamed up with its Herefordshire equivalent to work on the project, which requires significant private sector investment.

Up to seven investors are being sought for the project, which could cost up to £50 million.

Internet service providers will be required to guarantee 2Mb broadband coverage within three years and 30Mb by 2018.

Back in 2010, the government announced that Herefordshire would receive public funding to operate one of four rural broadband pilot schemes, along with North Yorkshire, Cumbria and the Highlands & Islands. said the involvement of Gloucestershire council would see more funding for the project come from Broadband Delivery UK, which has been charged with distributing £530 million in public funding to local authorities across Britain.

Last month, it was announced that £50 million of this fund will be shared among infrastructure projects in Norfolk, Wiltshire, and Somerset & Devon.

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