Villagers in Ravenstonedale have started work on their hyperfast broadband project by submitting a formal bid for funding from the Government.
The project is being run in association with Broadband for the Rural North Ltd (B4RN), a non-profit organisation designed to facilitate better internet access to traditionally isolated areas.
More than 70 residents in the parish have already expressed an interest in the project, which would see fibreoptic cables laid throughout the village, giving download speeds of up to 1,000 megabytes per second.
Peter Cotterill, the project team leader, said: “Many households in the parish have internet service speeds of between two and 10 megabits per second which are completely incompatible with the majority of services now expected to be employed in the home.
“Under COVID’s life-changing impact during the last 12 months, the needs for online home schooling competing with the data demands for home working has shown just how vital fast broadband connections are to our modern lives.
“Rural communities such as Ravenstonedale need to take advantage of B4RN’s excellent service and sign up to the Government’s Rural Broadband schemes.”
Costs are being estimated at around £400,000 with the grant hopefully supplying three quarters of that. The rest must be raised by the local community.
B4RN has already installed a supernode cabinet at Newbiggin-on-Lune, which is set to supply Brough School.
This will be ready next month, so the community can connect its own cables.
The project now has 12 route champions, who are working to find the best routes for new cables.
They will eventually oversee the digging of smaller trenches to provide internet access to homes.
Normal internet connection is supplied via copper cables, but B4RN feeds fibreoptic cables directly to residents’ properties, allowing for download speeds 20 to 30 times faster than conventional broadband.
B4RN is celebrating 10 years of delivering across over 7,000 rural properties in the North.
Ravenstonedale parish residents and businesses are encouraged to sign up before the end of the month using B4RN’s postcode checker at b4rn.org.uk/postcode-checker