Commumity-owned co-operative Fibre GarDen has received a grant of almost £400,000 to construct a superfast fibre network in the Yorkshire Dales.
The grant of £382,500 was made by DEFRA and BDUK from the Rural Community Broadband Fund and will help the rural communities of Garsdale and Dentdale get online with superfast fibre connectivity.
The money has now enabled Fibre GarDen to sign contracts with Cheshire-based telecoms company, ITS Networks, to start construction of the 64km network which is due to be finished in August 2015. This will bring residential superfast speeds of 50Mbps and 100Mbps to the Dales, exceeding speeds in Central London.
Andrew Fleck, chairman of Fibre GarDen,said the co-operative was “delighted” to have met all the requirements laid down by DEFRA.
“Their scrutiny has been relentless and this endorsement demonstrates their confidence in Fibre GarDen as a long term service provider for our communities. Along the way we have received enormous support and encouragement from our communities.”
With the network up and running, businesses and residents in the area will be to get gigabit speeds. The network itself will connect to the rest of the internet through services provided by Network Rail, which Fibre GarDen claimed was “a first in Britain”.
Roy Shelton, CEO, of ITS Networks said that every household and business in the area would be able to connect to the new service.
“This is a massive step forward for rural broadband,” he said. “This funding will mean that households and businesses in these hard to reach places will be able to benefit from broadband speeds that exceed many urban developments in the UK.”
“This project only goes to show how the determination of a community can ensure it doesn’t get left behind and digitally disadvantaged.”