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Fibre broadband to reach 98% of West Yorkshire by end of 2018

Thursday, July 2nd 2015 by Ellen Branagh

Tens of thousands more homes and businesses in West Yorkshire will be able to access superfast broadband thanks to a new £13m contract.

The contract between West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA) and BT will bring superfast speeds to premises across West Yorkshire and York.

This second phase of the project will build on work already undertaken by Superfast West Yorkshire and BT’s own commercial rollout, to extend fibre coverage through the current area as well as into York and Kirklees.

More than 60,000 homes and businesses in the area are now able to connect to high-speed fibre, with the first phase of the project expected to be completed in September.

Phase Two will continue the rollout to both urban and rural areas, with an extra 28,000 homes and businesses expected to get access within the next three years.

By the end of 2018 more than 98% of homes and businesses in West Yorkshire and York are expected to have access to fibre.

Locations expected to be included in the second phase of the rollout include business parks, inner city and suburban areas and rural areas currently not served by a fibre broadband network.

'Clear vision'

Digital minister Ed Vaizey welcomed the announcement, saying it would bring an additional boost to the local economy.

Cllr David Green, West Yorkshire Combined Authority member and Bradford Council Leader, said: “Along with physical transport infrastructure, high-speed broadband is vital in providing the links businesses need to achieve growth and create new jobs.

"To help residents access the benefits of high speed internet, West Yorkshire Combined Authority has a goal of achieving 100% superfast broadband coverage for the whole of Leeds City Region.

“I am pleased that by having a clear vision of what we wanted to achieve and working closely with BT to achieve it, we have found ways to provide crucial high-speed internet access to places that otherwise would not be served.”

Roger Marsh, chair of the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership and private sector member of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, added: “Digital connectivity across our city region is of utmost importance to businesses looking to accelerate their growth into new and existing markets but is also essential to businesses running their day to day activities.

“I am delighted that through this new contract we have secured the rollout of fibre to business parks and industrial centres across our city region that urgently need faster broadband speeds to improve their competitiveness and productivity.”

Funding for the multi-million pound contract includes £6.89m from the government’s Superfast Extension Plan and £6.1m from BT.

Extra investment is also being made by WYCA and local authority partners to support the day-to-day running of the project.

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