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Alternative funding methods will be needed to deliver broadband to the 'final mile' in the UK, it has been claimed.

Daniel Heery, Project Manager at Cybermoor - the community-supported broadband provider - believes remote communities could be cut off from fixed broadband networks unless more creative financial solutions are found.

cybermoor

"We’ve experimented with different technologies and found that there is enough technology to solve broadband issues," he told Cable.co.uk.

"But the big problem is getting the financing to deliver these solutions."

Mr Heery's firm, which operates in Alston, Cumbria, has been selected by the government to trial a new model for broadband funding - social investment.

Speaking to the news provider, he claimed this is "a growing market" the government is keen to promote, as it looks to bring broadband to the final five per cent of the population.

"There are some great social benefits of connecting farms and villages to broadband that aren’t taken into account by standard investors," Mr Heery noted.

He cited the examples of telehealth for the elderly and online training for young people - both of which can improve the quality of people's lives.

"On Alston Moor if it snows then schoolwork is emailed to students at home. In those situations you need a good broadband connection," Mr Heery explained.

However, he said it can be difficult making the case for investment to local people, who may only have limited funds available.

“If a service is under threat, like the village pub or shop, then people can actually see the benefit of investing,” Mr Heery added.

"With broadband it’s more complex - it’s not about the threat of losing a service but wanting a better one."

A spokesperson for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport told Cable.co.uk that the social

investment model being piloted by Cybermoor has the potential to reduce the amount of taxpayer-funded investment needed to roll-out super-fast broadband in rural parts of Britain.

The representative said the findings of Cybermoor’s feasibility report are being assessed, and it is hoped the model will not only work, but be scalable too.

Cable

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