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Tractor-powered free WiFi to follow the Tour de France in Yorkshire

As Tour de France riders speed through the Yorkshire Dales in July, spectators will be able to keep up using WiFi hotspots aboard two tractors.

The WiFi tractors will create hotspots reaching up to 500m, connecting to satellite internet connections established by ISP Avonline at four busy spots along the route of the Grand Départ on July 5-6.

The hotspots on the Leeds-Harrogate and York-Sheffield stages are a collaboration between the National Farmers’ Union, tractor make Massey Ferguson and Avonline.

Also competing in The Grand Depart will be three men in a bathtub
Also competing in The Grand Depart will be three men in a bathtub

Mark Wynn from Avonline Broadband told Farming UK: “We think this is a great way of keeping people connected while they are enjoying the Tour de Yorkshire – and a powerful way of showing how modern satellite broadband technology can deliver fast broadband anywhere in the country, no matter how remote.”

During the first stage on July 5, one tractor will be at the Yorkshire Dales National Park Visitor Centre in Hawes, and the other at the Visitor Centre in Grassington, with up to 8,000 people expected to converge across these points.

At stage two on July 6, one tractor will be located at High Bradfield near Sheffield and the other will provide WiFi access for spectators gathering in Holme village at the foot of the Holme Moss climb.

“We are really excited about this project and we hope it will add to people’s enjoyment of what will be an amazing event,” said NFU regional director Richard Pearson.

“Farmers across Yorkshire are gearing up to welcome tens of thousands of people for the Tour, showcasing the fabulous food and scenery for which the county is famous.”

In a similar rurally-themed move, EE is rolling out free WiFi to festival-goers at Glastonbury 2014 inside brightly-coloured plastic cows.

Image: Geograph/Gordon Hatton