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Lancashire has become the first UK county to agree a deal which will see broadband being rolled out to rural areas.

The scheme will be funded by a mix of government cash and money from BT which is a partner on the project.

As part of the plans, BT intends to extend its existing fibre broadband to around 97 per cent of premises in the county by the end of 2014.

Geoff Driver, Leader of Lancashire County Council, said: "Today our ambition to provide Lancashire citizens and business with a world-class broadband service turns into a reality. It is important that as many areas as possible benefit, and that is why we have ensured that even the more remote areas of the county see a significant improvement in their speeds."

Bill Murphy, BT’s Managing Director of NGA, added that it is "great" that Lancashire will be the first to make use of cash from the Broadband Delivery UK, which has set aside around £1 billion to help improve broadband speeds and coverage in the UK.

Data from Ofcom suggested that currently 15 per cent of homes and businesses in Lancashire receive broadband speeds of less than 2Mb, however, after current plans are in place it is thought this percentage will drop to near zero.  

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