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The UK Government has finally said how it intends to spend £30 million in bringing broadband to rural areas - more than a year after it first pledged the cash.

Eminister Douglas Alexander today announced a number of schemes designed to take broadband to areas currently not commercially viable for the necessary investment.

These include: wiring up business parks in Yorkshire and Humberside with broadband links; and a trial of satellite and wireless broadband links in the east Midlands.

In a statement Douglas Alexander said: "With the help of this £30 million fund, Regional Development Agencies across the country are embarking on innovative and exciting projects that could have a real impact on the roll-out of broadband infrastructure, especially in rural areas where access is currently limited.

However, critics claims that this initiative is little more than tinkering around at the edges and fails to address the real issue of broadband availability. Currently, four out of ten people in the UK are outside the reach of a DSL-enabled exchange.

The Government's £30 million pledge for rural broadband initiatives was first announced by the then e-minister, Patricia Hewitt, in February 2001.

It was also re-announced by Douglas Alexander in October 2001. ®

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