Council set to procure partner for £20.5m superfast broadband programme

North Yorkshire County Council has agreed to procure a delivery partner to increase its superfast broadband coverage to 96% of homes by 2019.

Members of the authority’s executive committee last week gave their backing for senior officers to go out to tender for the third phase of the Superfast North Yorkshire programme.

The first two phases are expected to see 91% of homes in the county get access to broadband speeds of 25Mbps by June 2017, at a cost of £34.5m. The third phase will use a mix of council, government and EU funding to increase coverage to harder-to-reach properties.

Executive member for broadband Don Mackenzie said the average cost of delivering superfast connectivity trebled as the locations became more remote. But he added that the county council was committed to supporting service provision in areas where it was not commercially viable.

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”At the start of the programme in 2012 the cost was almost £200. That cost has now risen to almost £600,” he said. 

“Nevertheless we are committed to helping our most isolated residents and businesses to get a good quality connection.”

He said that just over £12m of the phase-three funding would come from the county’s coffers, with £7.3m from the government’s Broadband Delivery UK programme and £1m from the European Regional Development Fund.

Councillor Mackenzie said the council expected to have appointed a delivery partner and identified the areas that would benefit from the third phase of superfast broadband rollout by Easter next year, when detailed planning work would commence.

He added that North Yorkshire had identified a further cashpot of £682,000 to help communities where there were “anomalies in coverage” once it had been decided where the phase three work would take place.

Jim Dunton

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