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UK councils are struggling to find the money needed to roll out fibre broadband networks in rural areas, it has been suggested.

According to Socitm, an association of public sector ICT professionals, many authorities will find it "a big ask" to match the public finding provided by Broadband Delivery UK.

Last year, the agency distributed £530 million in public finding around UK councils, in a bid to support their rural broadband development plans.

The coalition wants to see every UK community have access to a minimum of 2Mb broadband by 2015, and 90 per cent of people benefit from 24Mb download speeds.

But councils are committed to matching the cash with funds from their own budget, which Socitm believes is set to be problematic, reports ISPreview.co.uk.

The association says public sector agencies must work together to make the most of existing assets, and in order to do so they must overcome legal and commercial barriers.

Socitm said this can be achieved by reusing existing infrastructure, such as ducts and public service networks.

Public sector ICT professionals also believe 4G technologies, satellite broadband and other next-generation solutions can help keep rollout costs low.

Last week, Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt warned UK councils to make progress on their broadband rollouts, or risk losing the cash allocated to them by Broadband Delivery UK.

"There is £530 million on the table, but I have to had to say that if broadband contracts aren't actually signed by the end of this year I will consider taking this back," he stated.

"I do not want this to get bogged down in paper procurement."

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