UK village gets government-funded super-fast broadband

Ainderby Steeple
Image caption Ainderby Steeple is mentioned in the Doomsday Book

A village in North Yorkshire has become the first to benefit from super-fast broadband under a UK government scheme.

Communications Minister Ed Vaizey switched on the newly installed "street cabinet", a large green box that will deliver broadband speeds of up to 80Mbps to 90 homes in Ainderby Steeple.

Rural councils across the UK have been allocated a share of a £530m fund for rollouts unviable for commercial firms.

But critics say the process has been overly long and complicated.

And only a handful of councils have so far decided how to spend the money.

In all cases, BT has won the bids to provide broadband infrastructure, prompting murmurs of a fresh monopoly for the firm.

Image caption Super-fast broadband requires new street cabinets

Some rural areas already have super-fast broadband via locally organised community schemes.

North Yorkshire was allocated £17.8m by the government body, Broadband Delivery UK, with another £10m invested by BT, and a further £8.6m coming from the European Regional Development Fund.

Mr Vaizey said; "Ainderby Steeple is mentioned in the Doomsday Book. Unfortunately, until now, the people of this magnificent rural community would have struggled to find out more about their history online because of frustratingly slow download speeds.

He added that 40 more rural broadband schemes would be approved in "the coming months", with the aim of connecting 90% of homes to super-fast broadband and the remainder at speeds of at least 2Mbps.

As part of its drive to make the UK the best place for broadband in Europe by 2015, the government is also investing £150m to bring super-fast broadband to 22 towns and cities around the UK.

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