The big cheese of broadband technology arrives in Wensleydale

More than 500 homes and businesses in Hawes can now reap the benefits of faster broadband 

Superfast broadband has arrived in one of England’s most remote and iconic market towns in what has been a described as a ‘massive but vital undertaking’, Superfast North Yorkshire announced today.

More than 500 home and businesses in Hawes, which is set 850 feet above sea level in by far the most remote part of Upper Wensleydale, can now benefit from the high speed technology which will bring a host of new opportunities to the local community.
Hawes joins more than 2,500 homes and businesses in Leyburn, Gunnerside Bainbridge, Carlton, Wensley, Reeth and Thoralby who also have access to fibre broadband as a direct result of the Superfast North Yorkshire roll-out.

Cllr John Blackie, leader of Richmondshire District Council, and a local Hawes businessman, said: “The arrival of superfast broadband will be a transformational game-changer for the remoter communities we have here in the Upper Dales, as it will level the playing field for our deeply rural communities, and allow us to compete with the more populated areas of the country – the towns and the cities. It will present a landmark watershed in communications and opportunities – for both residents and local businesses – and there is here an air of eager anticipation and excitement surrounding the launch.”

The task to get the fibre technology from the telephone exchange in Leyburn to the town has involved building the longest fibre feed or ‘spine’ of the Superfast North Yorkshire roll-out to date. More than 17 miles of spine has been put in place using some existing, and some newly built, underground ducts with the majority of the route requiring traffic management to ensure engineers’ safety as they worked. More than 100 blockages in the ducts had to be cleared, with giant vacuums brought in 15 times to clear silt and debris washed into the ducts in an area which being high in the Pennines gets more than its fair share of rainfall.

Councillor Carl Les, chairman of Superfast North Yorkshire, said: “The issue of broadband access touches virtually all aspects of rural life. Lack of or poor quality broadband affects the ability and agility of rural economies to grow and be resilient and impacts on the services and quality of life rural people have access to.

“Faster broadband also breaks down the barriers to doing business in the digital world. Hawes may be remote but with superfast broadband, distance is no longer an issue, it brings the digital business world right to your doorstep.”

David Hartley, managing director of Wensleydale Creamery, who are based in Hawes and employ over 200 people, said: “As a business we are fully committed to the town. We are investing in building our new Creamery and focussing on selling our famous Yorkshire Wensleydale cheese across the UK and developing our international sales worldwide. The introduction of faster broadband will be a real boost to our efforts to market our fantastic range of handcrafted cheeses and put Wensleydale on the map.”

Cllr. Blackie added: “I am sure its availability will play a key role in arresting the outflow of young people that has become a very worrying trend recently – they understandably are voting with their feet to chase higher quality career and educational opportunities beyond the Upper Dales, the very sort that use superfast broadband as their stock-in-trade. Now they can stay here amidst our stunning scenery and we can compete for their presence on an equal footing.”

Bill Murphy, BT’s managing director for next generation access, said: “This has been a massive but vital engineering project which will bring huge benefits to people living and working in Hawes.

“Bringing superfast broadband to rural areas is a challenge. Working in partnership with Superfast North Yorkshire we have demonstrated that challenges can be overcome and the benefits of the latest broadband technology can be felt in some of our most remote communities.”

Superfast North Yorkshire, a partnership led by North Yorkshire County Council and BT, is behind the arrival of fibre broadband in Hawes and at more than 140,000 other homes and businesses across the county. These are in addition to more than 200,000 properties able to access fibre broadband as a result of BT’s £2.5 billion commercial roll-out programme

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 . The project is investing an additional £8m in funding to push the deployment of fibre even further with the aim to connect an additional 11,100 homes and businesses across England’s largest rural county with high-speed broadband by 2017.

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: enquiries@sfny.co.uk.

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

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

Notes to Editors:
Superfast Britain is a Government investment of £1.08bn in broadband and communication infrastructure across the UK. Run by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, this investment helps businesses to grow, creates jobs and will make Britain more competitive in the global race. The portfolio comprises three linked programmes:
• £780m to extend superfast broadband to 95% of the UK by 2017
• £150m to provide high speed broadband to businesses in 22 cities
• £150m to improve quality and coverage of mobile phone and basic data network services
Administered on behalf of Government by Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK), Superfast Britain is transforming Britain by promoting growth, enabling skills and learning, and improving quality of life.
For further information: https://www.gov.uk/broadband-delivery-uk