North Yorkshire County Council 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 per cent of premises will have access to superfast broadband speeds of 25Mbps. 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 County Council.
One of the communities to benefit recently from the upgrade is Tunstall, near Catterick, where many properties can now access superfast broadband and all will be able to see an increase in speed.
Later this year, phase three of the programme will begin to take coverage up to 95 per cent 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 County 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. This will be decided when SFNY has completed the procurement process to find a technology partner for this contract.
County Councillor Don Mackenzie, 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 we reach more remote, less populated communities. At the start of the programme in 2012, the cost was almost £200. That has risen to more than £600. Nevertheless, we are committed to helping our most isolated residents and businesses to get a good-quality connection."
County Councillor Carl Les, leader of North Yorkshire County Council and local member for Tunstall, 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."
Once high-speed fibre optic broadband is brought to a community, residents need to contact an internet service provider if they want to get faster broadband. The SFNY website provides further information and suggests comparison websites to help people find a provider. SFNY can also be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cllr Les added: "People should find that they will pay very little extra for a far superior connection. Some will even pay less."