West Yorkshire broadband group Fibre Valley has called for the superfast catchment area to be expanded to include the Worth Valley.
The area sits outside of the 97 per cent of premises that will get superfast fibre-based broadband under the £21.96 million Superfast West Yorkshire plan.
As has been the case with every BDUK (Broadband Delivery for the UK) project so far, BT has won the contract and aims to have the job finished by Autumn 2015, roughly two years from now.
Read Recombu Digital’s guide to BT Broadband RolloutsWhile the majority of residents across West Yorkshire will benefit from FTTC (Fibre to the Cabinet), providing speeds of up to 80Mbps, places like the Worth Valley and Kirklees will have to make do with a basic service delivering speeds of at least 2Mbps at all times.
That is unless Fibre Valley can generate enough interest. The group is calling for local residents and businesses to sign a petition that will hopefully convince councils and BT to redraw the map.
Fibre Valley’s site says: “By making the Worth Valley a Fibre Valley we will be able to compete with markets across the world, whilst enjoying all of the life enhancing benefits offered by the web.
Our message is simple – given sufficient community demand and commitment we can achieve something truly remarkable – a future proofed, lightning fast infrastructure that will change our lives and ensure the Worth Valley does not become the digitally excluded valley that time forgot.”
Parts of the nearby town of Keighley are to be included in the plan and Worth Valley residents are fearful of the digital divide this will cause.
Speaking to local paper Keighley News, campaign organiser Ken Eastwood said: “Rural communities and businesses deserve to benefit from the same broadband our urban counterparts take for granted. We’re trying to mobilise as many people as possible to say this is something that really matters to them in the Worth Valley.
“As residents and businesses, we feel we’re being held back – we don’t have access to what is being routinely offered in central Keighley and Bradford.”
Sufficient expressions of local interest could be enough to convince planners to include areas outside Keighley. As we’ve seen in Essex, local support can result in villages left out being brough into the fold.
Technical challenges and costs posed by local geography could prove a barrier and so making use of alternative technologies like wireless or satellite could be a better option.
The last of the Race to Infinity projects has been delayed because of technical considerations and problems posed by rural deployment.
Those interested in signing Fibre Valley’s petition can do so here.
Image: Tim Green/Flickr