A VILLAGE in North Yorkshire has become the first in the country to experience superfast fibre optic broadband.

Ainderby Steeple, near Northallerton, welcomed Communications Minister Ed Vaizey to unwrap the broadband cabinet as an early Christmas present for the community.

It will allow residents to use internet services many take for granted, such as Skype, and to watch television and download music.

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The village will now enjoy broadband speeds of around 80 Megabytes per second – previously residents could only receive 0.5Mbps.

Mr Vaizey said: “This is a landmark moment for not only North Yorkshire, but for rural areas around UK, as the nationwide roll-out of superfast broadband begins.

“High-speed broadband connectivity will provide a major boost to local economies, helping create the right conditions for growth, and it’s fitting that the first village to benefit from the Government’s £530m rural broadband scheme is located in the country’s largest rural county."

“I am delighted to be in North Yorkshire to open the first fibre broadband cabinet of many in the county.”

The youngest resident in the village, three-year-old Olivia Palmer-Smith, helped Mr Vaizey officially open the service.

The multi-million pound Superfast North Yorkshire project to deliver high-speed fibre broadband comes after years of planning between North Yorkshire County Council and BT - who won the contract to deliver Superfast Broadband.

BT was chosen as the private sector partner in the project selection process by the county council.

The company is contributing £10 million towards fibre deployment in non-commercial areas while the county council is using £17.8 million of Broadband Delivery UK funds and a further £8.6 million from the European Regional Development Fund.

Mike Galvin, head of network investment at BT Openreach, said: “I am excited to see the first in the roll-out of high speed broadband in North Yorkshire.

“We worked closely with the county council to assess the needs of residents in rural areas – which was challenging due to the remote locations of some villages.”

“It will give great service; it will be great for growth, education and creating jobs in the area because businesses will be able to run more efficiently.”

County councillor Carl Les, chairman of Superfast North Yorkshire, added: “The arrival of this exciting technology is a major step forward for this community.
“By the end of 2014, 90 per cent of our communities will be connected.”