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26,000 North Yorkshire homes to get superfast broadband
11:55am Thursday 31st October 2013 in News
UP to 26,000 more homes and businesses in North Yorkshire are set to receive superfast internet access as part of a flagship Government scheme.
North Yorkshire County Council’s executive is expected to approve an £8.1m drive to provide high-speed broadband access to an extra three per cent of properties in the county next week.
Grants totalling £5m from the Government’s Broadband UK agency and the European Regional Development Fund would extend the scheme to 93 per cent of properties in the county if the council adds £3.1m from its financial resources.
With the additional investment and more than 15,000 premises already connected to Virgin broadband, 367,000 of the county’s 379,000 premises would receive a superfast broadband connection.
The leading members of the council, which must make £92m savings by 2015 and is consulting on plans to cut bus services and limit free social care to elderly people with substantial needs, will debate whether providing superfast internet should take priority over other services.
The authority’s deputy leader, Coun Carl Les, chairman of the Superfast North Yorkshire programme, said superfast broadband was a key driver to economic prosperity, and was viewed as of equal importance to the county’s well-being as other services the council provides.
No decision has yet been made about which additional areas would be brought into the superfast broadband scheme, but it is understood the venture created to establish the network, NYnet, will examine which places offer best value for money.
NYnet aims to have 93 per cent of homes and businesses able to access 25Mpbs broadband by the end of next year, with the remaining 12,000 premises receiving “high-quality broadband” of at least 2Mpbs through other schemes such as satellite broadband by 2017.
Skipton MP Julian Smith recently called on BT to fulfil its commitment to provide higher speeds for all properties in the county not included in the superfast network.
Mr Smith said a number of communities had been left “high and dry” by BT’s decision not to upgrade the internet system in their areas.
A BT spokeswoman said the firm had to prioritise providing as large a superfast network as possible before looking at alternatives.
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