Garsdale and Dentdale are a huge leap nearer to getting superfast broadband services after the community owned co-operative, Fibre GarDen, received an offer letter for £382,500 from DEFRA/BDUK through the Rural Community Broadband Fund.
Chairman of Fibre GarDen, Andrew Fleck, said “We are absolutely 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 and YDNP.”
Fibre GarDen has signed contracts with Cheshire-based telecommunications company, ITS Networks (UK) Limited, 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.
Roy Shelton, CEO, of ITS Technology, said: “This is a massive step forward for rural broadband. 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. This network is all inclusive, as every household and business can connect if they wish.”
Business services will be provided at Gigabit speeds to encourage the digital economy in the area The not-for-profit co-operative is able to undercut commercial providers and is committed to providing the service to every resident. The project is attracting national interest because the community network will be connected to the World Wide Web through services provided by Network Rail, a first in Britain.
Dan Rogerson, Minister for Rural Affairs, said: “Communities like Garsdale and Dentdale will be transformed by access to fast and reliable broadband coverage. The £20m Rural Community Broadband Fund is a crucial element of the Government’s long-term economic plan. It will help build a stronger economy and a fairer society, allowing rural businesses to compete and grow.”
Tim Farron MP said “This is brilliant news and a testament to the hard work and determination of the whole Fibre GarDen project. I have been proud to support and campaign with the team. Being able to deliver superfast broadband to Garsdale and Dentdale will make a massive difference to residents and businesses.”