WORK has started on a £15.1m investment providing high-speed broadband to public sector sites in North Yorkshire.

The first premises to benefit from the installation of the fibre optic broadband infrastructure are in Easingwold and Selby, where work is under way, with Malton and Pickering to follow later this month.

Other areas where the infrastructure is to be installed in the coming months include Northallerton, Ripon, Richmond, Leyburn, Thirsk, Stokesley and Great Ayton.

The project is the result of a successful government funding bid by North Yorkshire County Council and its wholly-owned high-speed connectivity provider NYnet, supported by the county’s seven district councils.

The project will provide the same solution of high-speed broadband through fibre direct to the premises to 370 buildings in the education and health sectors in locations across the county within the next 18-months.

The contract to undertake the work was awarded to SCD whose group chairman, Chris Durkan, said: “We are delighted to work alongside North Yorkshire County Council and NYnet to bring first-class connectivity to North Yorkshire.

"The roll-out of full fibre across the area will provide major employment opportunities over the coming years and the build will be driven by a local workforce that is genuinely motivated and proud to play a role in such a transformational project.

"We will work tirelessly to reduce disruption during the roll-out, which will deliver high-speed connectivity to public sector premises across the region.”

County Councillor Don Mackenzie, executive member for access, said: “Efficient digital connectivity is important in creating and maintaining successful local economies and communities, particularly in North Yorkshire’s rural areas.

"The benefits of this project to public sector organisations in North Yorkshire are significant.

"This further improvement to our digital infrastructure will help to deliver national strategies such as the NHS long-term plan and the Department for Education’s programme to boost technology in our schools.

"More widely, it will also provide gigabit opportunities to private sector businesses and local residents throughout the county.”

Scott Walters, chief executive NYnet, said they were 'very excited' to be entering the delivery phase of the new full fibre network.