North Yorkshire Council has revealed that it received £16.4m of funding from Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) for its rural broadband pilot.
The Connecting North Yorkshire programme aims to see high-speed broadband delivered to about 11,400 businesses and will benefit 220,000 people. The project is one of four pilots selected by BDUK in October 2010 to test rural broadband rollout, with Herefordshire, Cumbria and the Highlands also benefiting from funding.
NYnet, the public and private sector commercial venture ISP that is in charge of the rollout, is also intending to secure additional finances from the European Regional Development Fund. It is hoped that this would bring the total investment to between £25m and £30m.
“We are determined to ensure that businesses and the people of North Yorkshire continue to thrive and high-quality broadband is essential to thriving communities,” said county councillor Carl Les, chairman of Connecting North Yorkshire.
“The ability to offer services such as remote access to computers and servers, video-conferencing, web meetings and access to a company telephony system, will put North Yorkshire on a level playing field with major cities such as Leeds and London.”
North Yorkshire has a population of just under 600,000, which is spread over 3,000 square miles. A procurement process is under way for the building of the new network, and is expected to complete by June 2012.
Last week, BDUK released details of a framework agreement that will support the rollout of rural broadband up until 2015, where up to 12 suppliers will work with local bodies throughout the UK. The framework will last up to four years and is estimated to be worth between £750m and £2bn.
The government pledged £530m last November to ensure that 90 per cent of households in each local authority could access super-fast broadband as part of its Comprehensive Spending Review.