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Farms cut out of rural broadband funding in North Yorkshire

From the paved streets of the big smoke to fields of northern Yorkshire, there’s more broadband and council-related balls ups. Harrogate Borough Council is delaying plans for the North Yorkshire Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) programme, as the initial report failed to include farms as businesses.

Failure to do so would mean that local farms would lose on on a slice of the £17 million pot handed to North Yorkshire County Council for next-gen rollout. This would see farm workers unable to access online services or potentially make use of the web to sell and promote their goods online.

Speaking to the Yorkshire Post, a Harrogate Borough Council spokeswoman said that Performance Reward Grant (PRG) funding will be put on hold until “the multi-million pound North Yorkshire Broadband Delivery UK programme has been procured and contracted at a county level.”

This should take place “in the next month or so,” meaning the foot won’t be on the brake pedal for long.

Councillor Margaret Atkinson, cabinet member for public protection and rural affairs said “There is no point acting on a report if it is not right. We are better having some delay and having it right then acting on it and having it wrong,” adding “But I feel like this has been dragging on for a long time.”

BDUK aims to have everyone in the UK able to get download speeds of at least 2Mbps by 2015. With funding now not expected to be secured until sometime in July, every minute matters.

Residents of Robin Hoods Bay are currently able to enjoy speeds of 10-12Mbps thanks to a village-wide Wi-Fi network set up with cash from Defra’s Rural Development Programme.

Image credit: Flickr user Thomas Tolkien

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