ABOUT 1,400 more homes and businesses in rural Worcestershire will be able to link up to high-speed fibre broadband thanks to more than £1 million of government cash.

Worcestershire County Council has been given a grant of £1,147,032 by the Broadband Delivery UK scheme run by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport to help bring high-speed internet to rural communities.

The grant – the result of two years of work by the council along with community representatives in Ombersley, Honeybourne, Pebworth, Castlemorton, Birtsmorton and Welland as well as Doverdale and Holt, Abberley, Defford and Besford - follows £3.35 million previously invested by the government, which is already being used to make fibre broadband available to more than 90 per cent of people in the county over the next three years.

The council’s cabinet member for skills, economy and infrastructure Cllr Simon Geraghty welcomed the announcement.

"I am so pleased to be able to confirm this additional funding for Worcestershire to become further connected and enable fibre-Broadband to reach additional rural areas,” he said.

“The county-wide scheme is already ambitious and committed to reaching over 90 per cent of our residents and businesses and this further funding will help us to extend that reach into more rural areas where we know this will support both residents and businesses.

“I would encourage everyone to sign up via our website to receive updates about any improvements in your local area."

Communities minister Ed Vaizey described it as “excellent news for these rural communities in Worcestershire”.

“The UK already does more business online than any other European country and widespread access to superfast speeds will provide a welcome boost to Worcestershire's economy,” he said.

The county council will now work to explore how the funding can be best used.

For more information visit superfastworcestershire.com.