Calderdale first to benefit from Superfast West Yorkshire project
The Old Fountain Brewery housing estate in Halifax today became the first location to benefit from the multi million pound Superfast West Yorkshire broadband programme as high-speed fibre broadband arrived three months ahead of schedule.
Thousands more homes and businesses across Calderdale will also have access to high speed fibre broadband speeds as the programme rolls out the technology to more locations.
Linda Riordan, MP for Halifax, said: “This is great news for the countless local residents and businesses who will benefit. The welcome investment in faster broadband speeds is good for business, good for the local community and good for the local economy. I know this will be the first of many investment programmes across Halifax.
“It is vital that local residents and local businesses get faster broadband connections, so any programme that delivers on that as well as boosting the Halifax economy gets my wholehearted support.”
Superfast West Yorkshire builds on BT’s commercial investment of £2.5 billion to rollout fibre broadband to two-thirds of UK premises. Leeds City Council, Bradford Metropolitan District Council, Wakefield Council and Calderdale Council will work with BT to bring fibre broadband to premises in West Yorkshire, which are not currently included in the private sector’s commercial roll-out plans and would otherwise have missed out on this opportunity.
Ed Vaizey, Communications Minister, said: “Today marks the next stage in the transformation of broadband in West Yorkshire. Thousands more homes and businesses in West Yorkshire will benefit from access to superfast speeds by the end of March 2015 as a result of Government’s investment, providing a huge boost to the local economy.”
The programme will involve investing a total of £21.96 million to extend high-speed fibre broadband to 97 per cent of households and businesses across the majority of West Yorkshire by the end of 2015. The programme also aims to ensure all premises in this area have access to speeds of more than 2Mbps.
The investment is made up of Government funding from Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) combined with funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), BT and four West Yorkshire local authorities.
Ian Gray, chair of the Superfast West Yorkshire project board, said: “I’m delighted we’ve reached this milestone which is so vital for West Yorkshire, and for Calderdale. It’s essential for our local businesses if they are to compete on a level playing field; for our efforts to attract inward investment and to create and protect local jobs. It’s also critical for our rural residents, so that they can enjoy the same internet benefits as those living in more urban areas.
“Most important of all, however, is the benefits it will bring to the next generation. This programme will give our children access to the interactive learning and research which they need to achieve their potential.”
The investment in fibre broadband will boost the local economy and help to create or protect local jobs. It will be of particular benefit to local businesses which can use the faster speeds to improve their competitiveness both within the UK and abroad.
Faster broadband will help local businesses find new customers and become more competitive and efficient, whilst for households the high-speed technology will offer new educational, training and leisure opportunities.
Bill Murphy, BT’s managing director of next generation access, said: “In the modern world digital connectivity is as important as having access to electricity and running water. From children doing their homework to caring for our elderly population and from social media, to e-commerce and home entertainment – fast broadband is the critical enabler.
“Fibre is no longer a nice to have for business. It is a need to have. To compete effectively in this world of technology we find ourselves in you need to be able to move, act and do business quickly and effectively. Faster broadband breaks down the barriers to doing business in the digital world like online trading, which helps to empower those small businesses to find new markets, sell new products, try new models and compete on an equal footing with larger businesses.”
BT’s network will be open to all communications providers on an equal wholesale basis and so consumers and businesses in West Yorkshire will benefit from a highly competitive market.
Residents and businesses across West Yorkshire who want to keep up to date with progress of the roll-out are encouraged to register their interest. This will enable the Superfast West Yorkshire team to send out updates on the project and identify areas of high demand. More than 4,500 businesses and residents across West Yorkshire have already registered their interest through the website www.superfastwestyorkshire.co.uk.
A Business Support Programme has also been launched together with Kirklees Council. This programme will demonstrate the benefits of high speed internet with targeted support and information to help businesses turn faster broadband speeds into business growth.