Friday, 10 March 2017 13:51

Council maintains rural broadband pledge

Written by  Ruralcity Media
Council maintains rural broadband pledge

ONE of England's biggest rural counties says 90% of premises will have access to superfast broadband by this summer.

North Yorkshire County Council says it is pressing ahead with its commitment to bringing faster broadband to communities across the county.

Superfast North Yorkshire (SFNY), the programme set up by the County Council, will complete phase two of the programme this summer.

By then it will have installed 830 fibre broadband cabinets in towns and villages across the county and up to 90% of premises will have access to superfast broadband speeds of 25Mbps.

    See also: One in four rural homes lack broadband

This is the result of an investment of £34.5m from the Government's Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK), the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the local authority.

Later this year, phase three of the programme will begin to take coverage up to 95% by 2019.

Funding of £20.5m is in place for this, comprising just over £12m from the County Council, £7.3m from BDUK and £1m from the ERDF.

The council has put aside a further £682,000 to target communities where there are anomalies in coverage once it is known where the phase three work will take place.

Technology

This will be decided when SFNY has completed the procurement process to find a technology partner for this contract.

Councillor Don Mackenzie, the council's executive member for broadband, said: "We have made the most progress of all organisations as part of the BDUK programme and have the best track record.

"It is a top priority to make North Yorkshire an even better place to live and do business.

The average cost of connecting a property to superfast broadband has increased as more remote, less populated communities have been reached.

At the start of the programme in 2012, the cost was almost £200. That has risen to more than £600.

But councillor Mackenzie said: "We are committed to helping our most isolated residents and businesses to get a good-quality connection."

Upgrade

One of the communities to benefit recently from the upgrade is Tunstall, near Catterick.

Many properties can now access superfast broadband and all will be able to see an increase in speed.

Council leader Carl Les said: "The residents of Tunstall have recently joined others across the county in being able to benefit from high-speed broadband.

"This helps individuals as well as business and tourism. School pupils and students benefit as they regularly use the internet for schoolwork and studies, and there is a health care benefit via tele-medicine."

Councillor Les added: "People should find that they will pay very little extra for a far superior connection. Some will even pay less."

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