PARTS of North Yorkshire are now pushing forward with their own efforts to bring next-generation internet to their area.
With firms such as BT only prepared to roll out fibre optic networks where they consider it to be profitable – generally in densely-populated areas – more distant communities will require sizeable Government subsidies to ensure the technology reaches them.
Leading the pack in this region is North Yorkshire, where the county council was successful in its bid to be made a pilot area for Whitehall’s £530m rural broadband programme.
Earlier this month it was revealed the council has won an allocation of more than £16m. Through its Connecting North Yorkshire campaign it is now bidding for match-funding from the EU, and believes that if the full £30m public investment can be secured, every home and business in England’s largest rural county could have access to high-speed broadband by 2015.
Superfast broadband is seen as being more valuable to rural communities than it is to urban areas, allowing people to work or access services remotely from the most far-flung corners of the country.
County Coun Carl Les, chairman of Connecting North Yorkshire, said the social and economic effects could be transformative – particularly for the one in eight county residents who work for themselves.