TWO “hard to reach” rural villages in the district are among areas set to benefit from an upgrade to full fibre broadband.
Openreach, which provides the digital network in the UK, has announced that Wilsden and Cullingworth are among the latest locations which will benefit from some of the fastest broadband speeds in Europe.
Among the 26 new areas to be included in the programme are nearby market towns Skipton and Otley.
They will be upgraded by Openreach, without any taxpayer subsidy, and it is hoped that have access to ultra-reliable and gigabit-capable full fibre broadband will boost their post-Covid economic recovery too.
Work is expected to get underway in many of the new locations in the next 12 to 18 months, although due to the size of the build, some places will see work continue into 2024.
The new locations are part of a wider announcement to make the new technology available to a further 3.2 million premises in the UK’s hardest to reach areas.
The build is at the forefront of a massive £12 billion investment, which will see Openreach’s ambition to build full fibre infrastructure to 20 million premises throughout the UK by the mid-to-late 2020s – delivering significant economic, social and environmental benefits for rural and urban communities.
Robert Thorburn, Openreach’s partnership director in the North of England, said: “We’ve already upgraded tens of thousands of homes and business across Yorkshire and the Humber to full fibre. As well as keeping the existing network running throughout the Covid crisis, our engineers have safely and with social distancing in place, continued building the new infrastructure to make sure that as lockdown restrictions ease, our network is there to support families, businesses and the economic recovery.
“I’d encourage everyone to check if they can switch to the new technology, and if you can, get in touch with your broadband provider to find out more about the many benefits. ‘Full fibre’ is more reliable and more resilient meaning fewer faults and more predictable, consistent speeds. It is also ‘future-proof’ to easily meet the growing data demands of future technologies.”
Openreach CEO, Clive Selley, said: “This year we’ve all seen the importance of having a decent broadband connection and at Openreach, we’re convinced that Full Fibre technology can underpin the UK’s economic recovery.
“Right now, we’re building a new, ultra-reliable full-fibre network that will boost productivity, cut commuting and carbon emissions, and connect our families, public services and businesses for decades to come.”
Openreach engineers are key workers so have been able to keep working throughout the pandemic. They will continue working in areas impacted by localised lockdowns or tighter restrictions, but will follow strict safe working guidelines.