Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Rural businesses to benefit from superfast broadband as Authority invests £9.1m

More than 1,700 rural businesses will soon be able to access superfast broadband after the West Yorkshire Combined Authority invests £9.1 million.

The programme will improve broadband access by October 2022 and enable 99% superfast connectivity across the region.

It will target businesses based in more isolated areas of West Yorkshire and York that are unable to access existing super and ultrafast broadband connections of at least 30 megabits per second.

Over the next ten years, the investment is expected to add around £20 million to the Leeds City Region economy as faster broadband speeds enable existing businesses to grow and encourage new businesses to start up.

It will also help the City Region towards its target of being a net zero carbon economy by 2038 at the latest by enabling more people who can, to work effectively from home and commute less.

This is the third phase of the Superfast West Yorkshire and York Broadband programme which has so far enabled more than 100,000 businesses and homes to access high speed connections.

“The need for reliable, high speed broadband connections has never been more important than over the past few months when millions of us have been working from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Cllr Susan Hinchcliffe, Chair of the Combined Authority and Leader of Bradford Council.

“Once complete, this investment will enable businesses to work effectively no matter where they’re based and enable more people to do their bit for the climate emergency by commuting less.”

Roger Marsh OBE DL, Chair of the LEP and Chair of the NP11, said: “The digital economy is now worth around £6.5 billion to the Leeds City Region and we’re frequently named as the best place in the UK to start and grow a business.

“This investment will enable more homegrown start-ups to thrive and encourage more companies to set up here creating the jobs and growth we need to fuel our recovery from the recent pandemic.”

The programme will be funded by £6.898 million from DEFRA, through the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development, £1.464 million from Quickline Communications who will be delivering the work, and £748,000 from the Combined Authority.

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