The Government’s rural superfast broadband programme reached a milestone yesterday as Ainderby Steeple in North Yorkshire became the first community to be connected.
Those behind the project said the ancient village, mentioned in the Domesday Book, will benefit from download speeds of up to 80mbps, and it is to be joined by a further 250 homes and businesses in Selby which will also have access to the same broadband speeds before Christmas.
Campaigners hope high-speed broadband connections will prove a major boost to local economies.
Richmond MP William Hague hailed the breakthrough, saying: “This is a significant step for Ainderby Steeple.
“High-speed digital connectivity is an essential requirement for our long-term success.
“At a time when our local economy needs every possible boost important developments such as the Superfast North Yorkshire programme’s investment in superfast broadband offers the potential to create new opportunities, services and growth.”
Communications Minister Ed Vaizey, who was in Ainderby Steeple yesterday, said: “This is a landmark moment for not only North Yorkshire, but for rural areas around UK, as the nationwide roll-out of superfast broadband begins.
“High-speed broadband connectivity will provide a major boost to local economies, helping create the right conditions for growth, and it’s fitting that the first village to benefit from the Government’s £530m rural broadband scheme is located in the country’s largest rural county.”
The Ainderby Steeple project is being delivered by Superfast North Yorkshire, which is a partnership between North Yorkshire County Council and BT. It has been awarded £17.8m for rural broadband projects across North Yorkshire.
BT has invested £10m, with a further £8.6m coming from the European Regional Development Fund.