Every telephone exchange in the Yorkshire and the Humber region has been enabled for broadband making it one of just three UK regions to have achieved 100% enablement, it has been confirmed. The final exchange – at Ramsgill Dale in North Yorkshire – was enabled for broadband at the end of December.
As a result, an additional 4000 householders and 800 businesses are now served by telephone exchanges which offer access the same high-speed broadband services as the rest of the region, and have the option of future services as they are introduced.
Working with BT and Adit, the regional procurement agency, Yorkshire Forward last year agreed to provide funding to make broadband available in the 24 exchanges that BT had previously announced were not commercially viable under its national broadband roll-out programme.
Yorkshire Forward has also liaised closely with the community groups that have already established networks in these locations, using alternative technologies, to ensure that they can work with service providers to offer their customers access to improved services.
Jim Farmery, Head of Technology Infrastructure at Yorkshire Forward, said: “This is a very proud moment for everyone involved. Geography is no longer a barrier to progress for any firm in our region, with all businesses that previously did not have access to broadband now being able to compete more effectively in the global market.
“But whilst I am obviously delighted that we have reached this stage, I am equally determined that as many firms as possible take advantage of the opportunity that broadband presents.
“Although our region is one the few with 100% broadband access, we also have one of the lowest take-up rates in the UK. This needs to be improved and, over the next few months, we will be doing everything we can to make it happen.”
Brian Greenwood, BT Regional Director Yorkshire and the Humber, said: “The Yorkshire and the Humber region has had the foresight to be at the cutting edge of the Broadband revolution in Britain. To be one of the first regions in the UK to achieve 100% will give it real competitive edge and provide the platform for prosperity and success in the new digital economy. ”
Ed Brown, Chief Executive of Adit for Yorkshire and the Humber, added: “Yorkshire Forward’s recognition of the benefits technology can bring is to be applauded. More so as it was they who determined the needs of regions people rather then be led by the suppliers. Adit’s role in helping them achieve their aim was simple in terms of public sector procurement, though the real challenge now is to ensure that this foundation is developed to further improve the Yorkshire and Humberside Regional Economy and maintain their position as a leader in the field of world class broadband infrastructure. ”