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Monday, 9 September 2013

Superfast broadband for Calderdale confirmed.

Ten years after Hebden Bridge's very first broadband connections, following a vociferous and effective community campaign, spearheaded by the HebWeb, we learn that over 90% of Calderdale will receive superfast fibre broadband from 2014.

The contract to extend high-speed fibre broadband to almost every corner of Calderdale has now been signed with BT.

The Superfast West Yorkshire project will see a combined investment of £21.96 million between the four participating local authorities; Calderdale, Bradford, Leeds and Wakefield.

Calderdale Council has put over £700,000 into this exciting project and has been allocated the largest share of investment out of the four authorities – the total possibly topping £5 million.

Here in Calderdale our goal is to reach 93% of our premises with superfast broadband (exceeding 24 Mbps), and deliver at least 2 Mbps to every business and household by 2015/16.

Council Leader, Cllr Tim Swift said: "Calderdale has lagged behind its neighbours for too long, suffering painfully slow internet access in many areas of the Borough.

"Labour recognises that fast, reliable internet is very important to our local residents in order to access essential online services such as healthcare and other public services. It also enables residents to save money, access jobs and promotes learning.

"I'm confident that many residents will witness a significant improvement in their connection speeds with over 25,000 premises set to benefit from our Superfast Calderdale project."

Cabinet Member for the Economy & Environment, Cllr Barry Collins said: "This massive investment will put Calderdale well and truly on the digital map, providing more jobs locally and enabling greater business innovation.

"Developing such critical infrastructure, will promote a stronger, more competitive Calderdale economy and give our small businesses and start-ups the means to compete, grow, and reach their true potential.

"Over 2,500 Calderdale businesses stand to benefit, with research indicating the generation of around 420 additional direct jobs and an increase of over £30 million in the value of goods and services we produce over the next 12 years ."

The Labour Group have been in touch with the HebWeb saying they would like to encourage residents and businesses who suffer from poor or limited broadband connections to register interest at www.superfastwestyorkshire.co.uk

The installation schedule will be announced in the coming months but Calderdale residents can expect improved access to online services and better connectivity for our businesses from 2014 onwards.

The HebWeb started campaigning for broadband from the Autumn of 2002.The first connections were made in October 2003. Initially, nearly all broadband connections were made by the community co-operative ISP which went under the name of 3-C. Many local people still retain their 3-C email addresses.

For more info and links concerning the 2003 campaign, click here.