Superfast North Yorkshire celebrates first birthday
One year on 50,000 homes and businesses connected to fibre network as a direct result of the project
Superfast North Yorkshire is celebrating its first birthday by announcing that 50,000 homes and businesses 1 can now access high-speed fibre broadband as a direct result of the project.
More than a third (37 per cent) of the county can already get superfast broadband – offering speeds of up to 80Mbps - when BT’s commercial roll-out of fibre broadband is also taken into account.
And the network is continuing to grow rapidly. The sophisticated fibre optic technology is expected to have reached a further 20,000 North Yorkshire premises in more than 50 towns and villages by the end of September - taking the total figure for the county to 195,000.
The pioneering project was the first in the UK to deploy fibre broadband using Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) funds following the signing of a £36.4m contract between Yorkshire County Council and BT in July last year. It builds on BT’s commercial fibre investment so that 90 per cent of North Yorkshire homes and businesses – some 365,000 premises - will have access to fibre broadband by the end of 2014 2.
Ultra-fast broadband speeds of up to 330Mbps will become available ‘on demand’ wherever fibre broadband has been deployed if North Yorkshire businesses want to upgrade to even faster speeds 3.
Engineers from BT’s local network business, Openreach, will have laid around 10,000 kilometres of optical fibre cable and installed around 660 new fibre broadband cabinets in streets the length and breadth of North Yorkshire by the time the project is completed.
Councillor Carl Les, chairman of Superfast North Yorkshire, said: “Combined with BT’s commercial roll-out we are fast approaching getting fibre broadband to reach half the premises of the entire county. Our achievements so far have been substantial. We are delighted with the pace of the roll-out which is bringing this exciting technology to more challenging areas in the county.
“This project will have a transformational effect on the county as fibre broadband has been identified as a key enabler to the regeneration of local economies.”
Liv Garfield chief executive of Openreach, added: “Delivering a project of this size is never easy, especially across England’s largest rural county with its many remote premises, but our engineers have been working tirelessly to keep everything on track and on time – deploying fibre to roughly 1,500 new premises every week.
“Investment in fibre and faster broadband speeds will be a key part of North Yorkshire’s future economic growth. Broadband is now seen as an essential rather than a luxury. Despite being in recession we have seen broadband numbers increase, not least because people see it as a route to jobs and markets. It provides the cornerstone for prosperous communities – helping local people build their skills and knowledge and encouraging the creation of new businesses and jobs.”
Ed Vaizey, Communications Minister, said: “North Yorkshire has seen a dramatic transformation of its Broadband services, and already more than 50,000 premises are now able to access superfast broadband as a result of this project. By the end of 2014, 90 per cent of the county will have access to superfast speeds, which will be a tremendous boost for the local economy as homes and businesses begin to reap all the benefits of high speed fibre. 2016 will see more than 90 per cent of the UK able to access superfast broadband, and with more than two thirds of nationwide projects now under way, it won’t be long before other areas start enjoying speeds similar to North Yorkshire.”
Ainderby Steeple became the first community to benefit from the multi million pound project, when high-speed fibre broadband arrived in the village in December last year, three months ahead of schedule.
Professional photographer Richard Jemison, who lives in the village, was quick to take advantage of fibre broadband and is now reaping the benefits. Richard, who was the first in the village to order superfast broadband, said: “Before I was upgraded I was getting download speeds of, at best, half a meg, now I’m getting around sixty.
“These days I have to be online to earn a living because that is how my customers increasingly do all their business. If I’m commissioned to take pictures for someone they expect to see the results almost instantly. In the past I was losing clients because I simply wasn’t able to upload pictures fast enough so they could see the results. Having superfast broadband means I can do it in seconds and I now have the capacity to take on much bigger jobs and expand the business.”
The high-speed network installed by Openreach is available on an open, wholesale basis to all companies offering broadband services so North Yorkshire households and businesses will benefit from a highly competitive market.
The majority of premises in North Yorkshire will be getting access to some of the best broadband speeds in the country via Superfast North Yorkshire and BT’s associated commercial roll-out. The high speed service will boost the competitiveness of local firms and offer new ways of flexible working, entertainment and learning opportunities for local residents.
Fibre broadband gives users the ability to run multiple bandwidth-hungry applications at the same time such as sending and receiving large amounts of data much more quickly and efficiently. At home, fibre broadband enables a family to simultaneously download a movie, watch a TV replay service, surf the internet and play games online all at the same time. A whole album can be downloaded in less than 30 seconds and a feature length HD movie in less than 10 minutes, whilst high-resolution photos can be uploaded to Facebook in seconds.
BT was chosen as the private sector partner in the project following an extensive selection process by the county council. The company 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 and a further £8.6 million coming from the European Regional Development Fund.
To help businesses in North Yorkshire take advantage of the faster broadband speeds a support service has been put in place to provide free services such as training workshops, skills master classes and business development events. This will demonstrate how faster broadband connections can help to develop business and increase profits by maximising efficiency and productivity. For more information call 0845 0020021 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
1 Details of North Yorkshire locations where fibre broadband is available can be found at www.superfastnorthyorkshire.com
2 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
3 Openreach will levy installation and distance-based construction charges for this service. It will be up to service providers to then decide whether they pass that onto businesses or consumers wishing to take advantage of the product.
For further information on the Superfast North Yorkshire programme visitwww.superfastnorthyorkshire.com
Due to the current network topography, and the economics of deployment, it is likely that some premises within the selected exchange areas will not initially be able to access fibre-based broadband. Alternative solutions for these locations are being investigated.
About Superfast North Yorkshire
Superfast North Yorkshire was created in July 2012 following the signing of the contract between North Yorkshire County Council and BT, which will see a total fibre broadband investment in the county expected to reach around £70 million.
North Yorkshire is the first county in the UK successfully to deploy Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) funds, which will be used to extend the roll-out of faster broadband across the county. The project will reach those areas outside of any commercial roll-out using a partnership approach to ensure all communities have access to the fastest possible broadband speeds.
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