'Major milestone' for rural broadband

A MAJOR milestone was reached when the government's rural superfast broadband programme connected its first village.

The rural community of Ainderby Steeple in North Yorkshire became the first community to be connected, with download speeds of up to 80mbps.

Communications minister Ed Vaizey, who unveiled the cabinet that will provide superfast access to 90 rural homes, said Ainderby Steeple was just the beginning.

"Ainderby Steeple is mentioned in the Doomsday Book.

"Unfortunately, until now, the people of this magnificent rural community would have struggled to find out more about their history online because of frustratingly slow download speeds.

"Thanks to our £530m investment in rural broadband, that is all about to change and the people of Ainderby Steeple can enjoy download speeds of a stunning 80mbps.

Over the coming months, the government would approve the procurement of more than 40 rural broadband programmes, said Mr Vaizey.

This meant that 90% of UK homes and businesses would be connected at superfast speeds and the remainder at speeds of at least 2mbps.

The government is investing £530m it claims will help take superfast broadband to rural areas and a further £150m for ultrafast urban broadband schemes.

Its target is to give the UK the best superfast broadband in Europe by 2015 – although rural campaigners say meeting the goal will be a major challenge.

The Ainderby Steeple project is being delivered by Superfast North Yorkshire, a partnership between North Yorkshire County Council and BT.

The partnership has been awarded £17.8m for rural broadband projects across North Yorkshire by Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK), the Government's broadband delivery unit.

BT has invested £10m with a further £8.6 million coming from the European Regional Development Fund.

The government defines 'superfast broadband' as broadband with potential headline download access speeds greater than 24Mbps.


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