Ripon MP calls for more cash to expand rural fast internet

Letter - Ripon MP Julian Smith. (S)
Letter - Ripon MP Julian Smith. (S)

Ripon MP Julian Smith has led a coalition of North Yorkshire MPs calling for extra Whitehall funds to extend superfast broadband to another 20,000 of the region’s most rural homes and businesses.

Six Conservative MPs led by Mr Smith have written to Chancellor George Osborne requesting the Treasury release an additional £2m to continue the roll-out of new high-speed internet services.

The letter to Mr Osborne – written by Mr Smith and also signed by Boroughbridge MP Andrew Jones and Thirsk MP Anne McIntosh – warns: “Under the current contract with BT, nearly 40,000 premises – around 10 per cent of the county – will not be reached, and therefore remain unable to access high-speed internet connections.

“Many of those premises do not even have the minimum 2Mbs access which the Government is intending to be universally available.”

The letter reveals North Yorkshire County Council is prepared to pour a further £3m into the scheme, but requires another £2m from the Treasury to extend the network to 95 per cent of homes.