The Smannell & Little London Broadband service, which was threatened by the removal of a County Council subsidy, has been saved thanks to the efforts of local Member of Parliament, Kit Malthouse and funding from Test Valley and Smannell Parish Council.
The County indicated that they were set to remove their £11,000 per annum subsidy of the scheme from April 2016 – just 30 months before a superfast broadband service is scheduled to be provided to the two villages as part of the general rollout in Hampshire.
Cllr Phil North arranged for Test Valley Borough Council to make a £3,500 per annum contribution and the Parish Council have also stepped in with £2,000. On the back of his recent Broadband Summit, local MP, Kit Malthouse, negotiated a deal with the County Council in which they would continue to pay half of their original contribution, saving the scheme.
Cllr Phil North said: “The removal of this scheme before the superfast broadband rollout would have been disastrous for local residents and business who rely on the service. I was pleased to be able to leverage money from Test Valley to help keep residents online and I thank Kit for successfully negotiating the deal.”
Kit Malthouse said: “I’m delighted that the scheme is still going ahead. We understand the frustration of local people whose internet connections are inadequate for the modern age and we had to act quickly. It’s vital that efforts to bring rural areas online proceed and important we were able to work to win both the money and the deal to keep it on track.”