The government has revealed the companies behind the successful bids for a share of a £10m innovation fund it had set aside to investigate new ways of bringing superfast broadband to the most remote and hardest to reach places in the UK.
Overall, eight different projects, covering several areas across England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland using a range of technologies have been shortlisted to progress to the feasibility stage, ahead of deployment later this year.
Wireless provider Quickline is the biggest beneficiary of the fund, winning £2.05m to testing a range of technologies combined with a BDUK funded voucher scheme in North Lincolnshire.
Also benefitting significantly was fibre company Call Flow, which won just under £1.2m to test hybrid engineering methods in Hampshire, whilst another wireless provider, North Yorkshire-based Airwave, which was awarded just over £1.5m to test a selection of next-generation wireless systems.
Rural Affairs Minister Dan Rogerson said: "Fast and reliable broadband revolutionises everything from how we work and how our children learn, to how we spend our leisure time and engage with public services.
"It is critical that we explore how to get superfast broadband out to these hard to reach areas to allow business to be more productive, innovative and competitive, which is crucial for building a stronger rural economy and fairer society."
The projects look to connect the parts of the UK not covered by the government's BDUK project, which aims to provide 95% of the country with superfast connections by 2017. The scheme has already connected up more than 20,000 new premises in rural areas across the UK, and these new schemes will look to continue this work.
"Our nationwide rollout is progressing at a terrific rate and each week superfast speeds are becoming a reality for tens of thousands of homes and businesses in rural areas across the UK," said Culture Secretary Sajid Javid.
"We know how important this has become which is why we are investing £10m in these pilots to explore how we can extend coverage beyond the 95% of the UK we are on track to deliver by 2017."