Villages chosen for high-speed internet access to rival cities

VILLAGERS and businesses in a remote cluster of Yorkshire valleys are being given high speed internet access to rival connections provided in major cities.

The next generation of broadband coverage is being introduced in the Farndale area of the North York Moors in only the second scheme of its kind in England.

Communities in Farndale, Blakey, Bransdale, Rudland, Beadlam Rigg and East Moors had previously suffered from a slow or non-existent internet connection, which limited the chance to attract business and boost the local economy.

But the latest phase of the pioneering NYnet project to provide high speed internet coverage across North Yorkshire is due to boost connections.

It is hoped that the improved internet coverage will also prevent a "brain drain" to towns and cities by allowing entrepreneurs to either remain or launch new ventures in rural areas.

The scheme has won praise from the Government, which has pledged to continue its own efforts to ensure high speed broadband coverage is rolled out across rural parts of the country.

The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Caroline Spelman said: "Reliable internet access is vital for business and education, and will help to promote social inclusion and improve life in rural areas right across the country.

"The new broadband strategy is a vital part of our commitment to improving the lives of people living in rural communities."

The Yorkshire Post revealed in May last year that communities living in some of the most isolated parts of the county were to benefit from high-speed internet connections as the next phase of the ground-breaking NYnet scheme was rolled out.

While dial-up technology was ditched more than a decade ago in many towns and cities across the country, isolated rural communities often still have to rely on the slower connections.

A pilot in Newton-on-Rawcliffe to provide up to 150 residents and businesses with access to a broadband connection with download speeds as fast as 10 megabits per second has proved a major success, leading to the launch of the Farndale scheme.

Fibre-based internet has been provided at Gillamoor School on the edge of the North York Moors where coverage is beamed wirelessly over nine miles in three directions to outlying homes and businesses.

The service is overseen by community service provider Moorsweb and LN Communications, which are working together to deliver the internet connection.

The chief executive of NYnet, David Cullen, said: "We are delighted NYnet is able to make such a difference to people's lives. North Yorkshire is England's largest county and has some of the most remote villages in the country.

"Following a pilot in Newton-on-Rawcliffe, Moorsweb is the second project in a series of community broadband initiatives that NYnet plan to introduce in rural villages throughout North Yorkshire in 2011."

The next phase of the Moorsweb scheme will add Rosedale to the fibre connection, and it is hoped that the improved coverage will be introduced in Hutton-le-Hole and other rural communities.

Barry Sunley, a member of Moorsweb, said: "In the middle of the North Yorkshire Moors we are a very remote community, conventional telephone line broadband simply doesn't exist this far from the telephone exchange, and often suffer from severe weather, which makes us even more isolated. The new connection acts as a line out to the rest of the world, often a very real life-line."

The project has been funded with 215,000 from the Rural Development Programme for England.

The NYnet scheme, which is overseen by North Yorkshire County Council, was heralded as important as the arrival of the railways when it was announced in 2007.