RURAL primary schools across the county are set to receive a boost to their internet speeds.

High-speed connectivity provider NYnet is working to deliver gigabit-capable broadband connections to more than 20 schools as part of the Government’s commitment to improve internet infrastructure in rural and remote areas across England.

Many schools have now been connected, and many more have already signed up to the programme, with work expected to be completed over the coming months.

The Rural Gigabit Connectivity (RGC) programme is a multi-million pound cross-Government initiative, created by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), in conjunction with the Department for Education (DfE) and local authorities.

Those schools already connected under the programme have greatly benefitted from significantly improved broadband speeds and now have the capability to be further upgraded in the future, should their requirements change.

During the coronavirus lockdown, schools have found they are able to utilise their new gigabit-capable broadband connections to connect teachers, pupils and parents.

Significantly faster broadband speeds are enabling teachers to work remotely, access school systems, take part in video conferencing with colleagues and plan and set lessons for pupils.

They are also completing online training and staying in touch with parents through email and social media.

County Councillor Don Mackenzie, executive member for access, said: “North Yorkshire is the country’s largest county and we regularly face the challenges of ensuring that our rural areas are not disadvantaged by their remoteness when compared with our urban centres.

"High-quality digital infrastructure is one of the County Council’s top priorities and we are making substantial investments in broadband and mobile telephony.

"That is why I warmly welcome the RGC initiative, which will bring such great benefits to some of our rural schools.”

Openreach managing director for infrastructure, Kim Mears, said: “We’ve been playing a leading role in connecting North Yorkshire for many years, but it’s never felt as important as it does right now.

"Faster, more reliable broadband is helping schools support their pupils and keep lessons going during lockdown.

"And once pupils are back at school it will be vital for interactive learning and developing their digital skills.”

Acting chief executive of NYnet Graham Warren said: “NYnet is delighted to have facilitated the upgrade of these rural schools to an ultrafast fibre connection.

"We are very proud to continue providing great broadband access across North Yorkshire."

Mr Warren added that better internet connectivity is key to developing North Yorkshire's economy.