Villagers celebrate arrival of superfast broadband in Hirst Courtney

Government announces two million more UK homes and businesses can now get superfast broadband 

Residents from the village of Hirst Courtney met with local MP Nigel Adams to celebrate the arrival of superfast broadband.
More than 200 premises in and around the village, including some properties in the neighbouring village of Chapel Haddlesey, now have access to fibre-to-the-premises technology (FTTP) – fibre broadband with blistering speeds of up to 330Mbps. 1

The news comes as the Government today announced that the nationwide rollout of superfast broadband – with speeds greater than 24Mbps – has now reached more than two million homes and businesses.

Both villages join more than 22,000 homes and businesses in Selby and Ainsty that now have access to high-speed fibre broadband as a direct result of the Superfast North Yorkshire roll-out.
Having carried out detailed planning and survey work, engineers decided FTTP technology - where fibre goes directly to the home, not via a green cabinet in the road - was the most effective and cost efficient way to link up the villages to high speed broadband.

Local resident Darren Webster, who has had his superfast service for just a week and a half, has seen his broadband speed leap from 0.5Mbps to around 50Mbps. Darren said: “The very first thing we did was sit down and watch iPlayer because it is something we’ve never been able to do before. For us it was like stepping out of the stone-age and into the 21st century in an instant.”

Darren, who works for his family’s business servicing and supplying fire safety equipment, added: “Life before fibre was just one long frustrating wait. Something as simple as updating iTunes might take up to eight hours, and we’d have to do it overnight otherwise it would cause the connection to crash. More and more aspects of daily life are moving online and we were starting to struggle. I have two teenage children and a lot of their school homework is now done using online resources but they just couldn’t access anything and it was starting to interfere with their studies. The great thing is being able to do everything simultaneously without everything freezing up.”

Chris Stephenson, who runs his IT and finance consultancy from home, told how his new superfast connection is already benefiting his business. He said: “The connection used to be so slow that I had to make a twenty mile round trip in the car to another village just so I could get online to do my work.

“I do a lot of work to help community and church organisations to secure grant funding and the application forms and access to the various finance organisations all needs to be completed online. Now I can do it all in a matter of seconds and with no more unnecessary trips in the car.”

Chris, who moved to Hirst Courtney last year, added: “We have a young grandson in Newcastle who we used to keep in touch with via a video call everyday but since moving here we didn’t have enough bandwidth to do that. Now we can keep in touch and not miss any important milestones.”

MP Nigel Adams commented: “The arrival of superfast broadband will be game-changer for the large number of rural communities we have here in North Yorkshire. 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. These villages may be rural but with superfast broadband, distance is no longer an issue, it brings the digital business world right to your doorstep.”
Councillor Carl Les, chairman of Superfast North Yorkshire, said: ““Bringing superfast broadband to rural areas is a challenge. Working in partnership with BT 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.”

Tom Keeney, BT’s regional director for Yorkshire and the Humber, added: “Together, we and our public sector partners are creating a lasting legacy, which will play a vital role in the future success and prosperity of our local communities and our nation. Already nearly 22 million UK households and businesses can benefit from the huge opportunities offered by fibre broadband with many more joining them every month.”

Superfast North Yorkshire, a partnership led by North Yorkshire County Council and BT, is behind the arrival of fibre broadband in Hirst Courtney and at more than 140,000 other homes and businesses across the county. These are in addition to more than 200,000 properties in North Yorkshire 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 Fund2. 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

1 These are the top wholesale speeds available from Openreach to all service providers; speeds offered by service providers may vary.

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

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