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Broadband boost for rural Yorkshire

A pioneering superfast broadband project is benefiting rural communities in North Yorkshire.

North Yorkshire County Council is investing more than £12m from its funds, for the next phase of the Superfast North Yorkshire initiative.

It is being supported by a further £7.3m from the government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) and £1m in European funding.

The County Council is committed to making the area a better place in which to live and do business and sees high-quality broadband access as crucial to this.

For the next phase of Superfast North Yorkshire, the County Council will invest more than £12m from its funds, supported by a further £7.3m from the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) and £1m in European funding.

Council leader Carl Les said: “We have made the most progress of all the organisations that are part of the BDUK programme and have the best track record.

“It’s a priority for us to make North Yorkshire an even better place to live and do business.

“Superfast broadband also benefits education, as, increasingly, pupils and students need the internet for their schoolwork and studies.

Councillor Les said the local authority was “well placed” to achieve its target coverage of between 95-96%, helping rural communities to become sustainable.

But he said he also realised there was still work to do – including investment to target communities that don’t currently have coverage.

“We have stepped in, going beyond our statutory obligations, because we are committed to helping our most isolated residents and businesses to get a good-quality connection.”

Government digital minister Matt Hancock recently visited the region, where he spent two days visiting businesses that have benefited from superfast broadband.

He said: “More than £20m is now being invested in taking superfast speeds to more local premises, helping make sure people have the fast, reliable and affordable broadband that they need.”

In the village of Ellerton on Swale, near Scorton, Mr Hancock met rural residents, including Sarah Thompson, owner of Lakeside Country Café.

Ms Thompson is upgrading her connection following the arrival of superfast broadband so customers will be able to use wi-fi in the café.

She said: “We have never been able to offer wi-fi in the café, so it will make a big difference. People expect to be able to access wi-fi wherever they go.

“It will enhance our business because more people will want to come down to the café and people staying at the caravan park will be able to come here to use the wi-fi.

“It will also help in the day-to-day running of the business with simple things like card payments and online orders.

Local farmer and parish councillor John Bell helped, along with other members of the parish council, to identify a route for the broadband cables.

He has already taken advantage of the superfast access.

About 70 people in the village could take advantage of the superfast access and the initial feedback was that it was marvellous, said Mr Bell.

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