Thursday, 04 December 2008 12:06

Praise for rural broadband initiative

Written by  Ruralcity Media
Praise for rural broadband initiative
A UK broadband initiative has been praised for its potential to stimulate rural economies across Europe.

The scheme is seen as key in enabling rural businesses to compete on a level playing field with companies in larger towns and cities.

It is being highlighted at a three-day, international conference on improving broadband services which began in York on Wednesday (3 December).

A public-private sector partnership based in North Yorkshire, NYnet aims to improve rural internet access.

The partnership is now participating in the European B3 Regions project following its work to introduce high speed broadband to North Yorkshire.

The county had previously suffered from a lack of internet access, making it difficult for rural businesses to compete with firms  in more urban areas.

In less than two years, NYnet enabled internet service providers (ISPs) to supply enhanced broadband services to up to 50,000 small and medium sized businesses and sole traders.

Some 300 million Europeans are said to be excluded from the digital economy.

"A third of these people are excluded because they can't get fast, solid or reliable broadband," said NYnet chief executive David Cullen.

"We aim to improve social and economic prospects and service capabilities moving the area into the 21st Century and to put North Yorkshire and the UK on the map as rural broadband providers."

NYnet was formed with European Union funding as a collaboration between the regional development agency Yorkshire Forward and North Yorkshire County Council.

The infrastructure involved has also reduced costs and improving services for a spectrum of public sector services.

Altogether, some 16 European partners are involved in the EU B3 Regions project.

Roberto Moriondo, B3 Regions head of legal, said: "This model could now provide a solution to help resolve the issues of social inclusion in similarly remote areas elsewhere."

Other projects range from an initiative in Crete to help fire fighters combat forest fires to an online, education based facility to improve teaching in Lodz, Poland.

Also taking part are a regional development programme in Spain and an  communications technology strategy for the region of Piedmont in Italy.

The B3 Regions intiative was set up following research which found that only 60-70% of businesses and households in EU rural areas have broadband.

This compares to over 90% in more urban areas.

The initiative is co-funded by the European Territorial Cooperation INTERREG IV C Programme.

  • No comments found

Leave your comments

0 / 500 Character restriction
Your text should be in between 10-500 characters
terms and condition.