The County Council has given a warm welcome to the announcement that its bid for Rural Development Programme for England funding for superfast broadband was successful and that it is to receive £11.15million.
Rural Affairs Minister Lord Gardiner announced the funding under the Rural Broadband Infrastructure Scheme during a visit to the North York Moors National Park today.
The Phase 3 contract for the Superfast North Yorkshire (SFNY) project was awarded to BT in February 2018 and was valued at £20.5m. It was to connect up to 14,239 domestic and business premises, most by state-of-the-art fibre to the premise technology giving download speeds of up to 330Mbps, to be delivered by June 2021.
The additional funding will build on the success of Phase 3. Thanks to Phases 1 and 2 of SFNY, nearly 90% of all properties now have access to superfast broadband. Phase 3 will take this up to about 95%. So far, the value for money achieved by county council and SFNY has been the best by any rural authority. The average cost per connection under Phase1 and Phase 2 is £204. That cost will rise steeply as the project moves further and further into deeply rural parts of North Yorkshire.
County Councillor Don Mackenzie, executive member for access, said: “High-quality digital infrastructure is essential for business success, for so many needs of households, for education and for health and social care. It is for those reasons that NYCC prioritises excellent broadband provision and also improvements in 4G mobile phone coverage.
“In addition to the SFNY programme, the county council also bid for, and was successful in winning from the Government, £15.1m to develop a series of Local Full Fibre Networks based on 391 public buildings in the county. All the district councils supported our bid and it is expected that this money, the second highest amount given to any local authority, will extend the reach of high capacity fibre networks to public sector sites across the county.’’