The number of people signing up for high-speed fibre broadband in North Yorkshire has doubled in two years.
Latest BT figures show that more than 40 per cent of homes and businesses included in the first phase of the Superfast North Yorkshire programme have already signed up to a fibre broadband package. This compares to around 20 per cent some 24 months ago.
Homes and businesses included in the second phase of the roll-out, which began last year, are swiftly catching up with a quarter of those able to already opting to upgrade to fibre broadband.
The figures place Superfast North Yorkshire the fourth highest for residents taking up a superfast broadband service out of 46 government funded (BDUK) projects across the UK.
A string of communities are embracing the high-speed broadband revolution with the strongest demand for super-fast broadband across the county. A league table of the top ten exchange areas reveals that Beningbrough, Topcliffe and Bubwith have the strongest demand for superfast broadband in the county with around 60 per cent of homes and businesses signing up to the high speed technology.Other areas in the top ten are Linton-On-Ouse, Barkston Ash, Gateforth, Spofforth, East Harsley, Sherburn and Wheldrake all registering more than 50 per cent take up.
Carl Les, leader of North Yorkshire County Council, said: “It is great to see that households and businesses in connected areas are taking advantage of the technology as it arrives..
“Every day the number of services delivered to us online, whether designed to entertain, educate or meet out daily needs, is growing. Superfast broadband is rapidly becoming vital to everyday life which is why the County Council has invested millions of its own money to work with partners in extending the service across this large rural county into areas where it has not been commercially viable. Our top priority is to make North Yorkshire an even better place to live and do business in and we are delighted that more and more people are opting for Superfast when it becomes available.”
Tom Keeney, BT’s regional director for Yorkshire and the Humber, added: “Broadband numbers are increasing strongly, 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.”
“People should also remember that superfast does not mean super-expensive. Fibre is an ‘opt in’ service which means you must contact a service provider of your choice to upgrade and with around 70 operating across the UK it is a great time to find a deal to suit you.
“The Superfast North Yorkshire team are doing a great job of making more and more people aware of the benefits of fibre broadband. With download speeds of up to 80Mbps2 widely available, it really does have the ability to transform the way people and businesses use the internet.”
The multi-million pound partnership between North Yorkshire County Council and BT has already made the new technology available to more than 185,000 homes and businesses across the county. Of those, more than 8,500 have access to fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) technology, which brings ultrafast speeds of up to one gigabit per second (Gbps).2 And more is still to come.
All of the engineering work is being carried out by Openreach, BT’s local network business. Residents and businesses with access to fibre broadband can choose from a wide range of internet service providers and benefit from competitive pricing and products.
Following the completion of phase one of the roll-out in Spring 2015, work on the second phase is now well underway. By mid-2017 a further 15,000 households and businesses will be able to access high speed fibre broadband services.
North Yorkshire County Council has agreed funding of £20.5 million for phase three of its Superfast North Yorkshire programme to take superfast coverage up to 95-96 per cent of the county.Up to £12 million will come from the authority’s own funds, £7.3 million from the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) and £1 million from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). This comes on top of the £34.5 million for phases one and two. A competitive procurement process is underway for phase 3 that will be completed in early 2017.
The Superfast North Yorkshire project was the first in the UK to deploy fibre broadband using funds from the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) programme following the signing of a contract between North Yorkshire County Council and BT in July 2012. BT was chosen as the private sector partner in the project following an extensive selection process by the county council.
 Latest figures available from BT