Superfast broadband project to boost North Yorkshire economy by £220 million

The first phase of the Superfast North Yorkshire project, which is helping to extend the availability of high speed fibre broadband, has contributed £36 million to the local economy – and this could grow to £220 million in the next two years.

The first phase of the Superfast North Yorkshire project, which is helping to extend the availability of high speed fibre broadband, has contributed £36 million to the local economy – and this could grow to £220 million in the next two years.[1]

The figures are based on a variety of factors including changes in internet use by businesses connected to fibre and the resulting impact on turnover, profitability and employment.

The independent analysis by Regeneris Consulting[2] highlights a range of benefits for businesses connected to the new fibre broadband network. The report shows a large proportion of small and medium sized firms have become more productive and grown as a result of their new fibre connection. The analysis indicates that one new job has been created for every ten firms connected to the network.

The report says that for every £1 invested by Superfast North Yorkshire, £7 will be added to the economy of North Yorkshire within the next two years.

Phase one of the Superfast North Yorkshire fibre broadband deployment was completed in spring of this year. Together with the commercial roll out of high speed broadband, it has ensured that more than 90 per cent of homes and businesses across the county can access fibre broadband with 86 per cent able to order superfast broadband with speeds of 25Mbps or above.

The research also looked at the impact of Superfast North Yorkshire’s business support programme - a specially tailored programme offering free business support and advice on a variety of topics designed to help businesses harness the potential of high speed fibre broadband

This programme has supported more than 1,000 businesses in North Yorkshire. Regeneris Consulting’s survey of these businesses found that a third of respondents reported an increase in their turnover as a result of the business support. Half of them have gained new customers and more than a quarter have seen improved profits as a result of the support received.

Overall, the business support programme has made an estimated contribution of £17 million to the North Yorkshire Economy.

Carl Les, leader of North Yorkshire County Council said: “This is fantastic news for North Yorkshire, it is great to see North Yorkshire businesses taking advantage of public investment in superfast broadband to spearhead the growth of our economy.”

Digital Economy Minister Ed Vaizey said: "From Ainderby Steeple to Masham, and from Hardraw to Leyburn, the Superfast North Yorkshire project has done a remarkable job in transforming the digital landscape of the region. Superfast broadband is a catalyst for economic growth, which is why Government, together with local authorities around the UK, is investing more than £1 billion to take superfast coverage to 95 per cent of the UK by 2017.”

Bill Murphy, BT’s managing director of next generation access, added: “The report findings are a clear indication that faster broadband is a catalyst for growth, particularly in a predominantly rural area like North Yorkshire.

“Faster broadband breaks down the barriers to doing business in the digital world with developments like online trading, which helps to empower those small businesses to find new markets, sell new products, try new models and compete on an equal footing with larger businesses.”

One of the North Yorkshire companies involved in the Superfast North Yorkshire project is Spectre Solutions, which specialises in forensic imagery in legal cases. Neil Millar, who owns Spectre Solutions, said: “The Superfast North Yorkshire business support programme has helped us to secure new business opportunities and grow our business. We have invested in new technology that has been used in high profile cases in Courts such as the Central Criminal Court.”

BT’s network is available on an open, wholesale basis to all companies offering broadband services so North Yorkshire households and businesses are benefiting from a choice of superfast services from a range of internet service providers.

In May, Superfast North Yorkshire completed the first phase of its roll-out to 149,944 homes and businesses. Around 200,000 properties in the county are also able to access fibre as a result of BT’s commercial programme thereby meaning the vast majorityof the county’s 380,000 premises are now able to get high speed broadband.

Work is well underway on the next phase of the Superfast North Yorkshire project with £8 million in additional public sector funding helping to make high speed broadband available to another 11,100 homes and businesses by the end of 2016.

The Superfast North Yorkshire project was the first in the UK to deploy fibre broadband using the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK funds following the signing of the original £36.4 million contract between North Yorkshire County Council and BT in July 2012.

BT was chosen as the project’s private sector partner following an extensive selection process by the county council. BT is contributing £10 million towards fibre deployment in “non-commercial” areas whilst the county council is using its £17.8 million share of BDUK funds as well as up to £13 million of its own funds. A further £8.6 million is coming from the European Regional Development Fund[3] for the first phase of the project.

For further information on the Superfast North Yorkshire programme visit www.superfastnorthyorkshire.com

[1] Net Additional GVA impacts (GVA – measures the contribution to the local economy of each individual producer, industry or sector).

[2] http://www.superfastnorthyorkshire.com/media/1257178/Superfast-North-Yorkshire-Final-Evaluation-Final-Report-30-10-15.pdf

3.The Superfast North Yorkshire project is part financed by the European Regional Development Fund Programme 2007 to 2013. The Department for Communities and Local Government is the managing authority for the European Regional Development Fund Programme, which is one of the funds established by the European Commission to help local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support local businesses and create jobs. For more information visit www.communities.gov.uk/erdf