West Yorkshire communities urged to exploit broadband boost

Increasing access to superfast broadband is expected to add £113 million to the Leeds City Region economy

16 January 2020

More than 141,000 premises across West Yorkshire can now enjoy faster, fibre broadband rolled out by the multi-million-pound Superfast West Yorkshire & York broadband programme.

And more than half (56 per cent) of homes and businesses within the programme area have signed up to faster broadband. However, this still means tens of thousands of people could be benefitting from the faster speeds.

Thanks to the £48.4 million programme, which is led by the West Yorkshire Combined Authority and Openreach, advances in technology and some innovative engineering, many communities in locations initially considered unviable for fibre technology are now able to connect.

More than 6,000 homes and businesses in communities including Otley, Todmorden, Pontefract and Honley can now access blistering broadband speeds via fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) technology. This future-proof, full fibre network, which has enough capacity to support the ever-growing demand for data hungry devices and services for decades to come, can carry speeds up to 1Gbps1 - 21 times faster than the UK’s current average.

Cllr Susan Hinchcliffe, Chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority and Leader for Bradford Council, said: “Access to faster, fibre broadband not only allows us to stream films and music faster, it is vital for the success of our small and medium sized businesses. 

Overall, this programme of investment in superfast and full fibre broadband is expected to add £113 million to our regional economy[i] by supporting businesses to grow, access new markets and create the jobs of the future. 

“Increasing access to faster broadband will also support our pathway to becoming a net-zero carbon City Region by 2038 by enabling more people to work from home and allowing us to explore how emerging technology such as autonomous vehicles could be used in the future.” 

Faster broadband offers a more reliable service and the ability to access services which a few years ago would not have been an option. Many people are already taking advantage of ‘the Internet of Things’ using remotely controlled heating, lighting and security cameras in their homes – all powered by broadband. Some can even put the kettle on for their morning cup of tea from the comfort of their bedroom.

Devices such as smartphones and tablets are working more effectively now that photos, videos and apps can be stored and run from the cloud, freeing up space and enabling devices to perform at their best.

Businesses are also benefitting from cloud-based services as well as making efficiency improvements and cost savings through improved online sales and marketing and better online ordering and invoicing systems.

Video conferencing and the ability to access company systems remotely enables more businesses to offer flexible and homeworking options for employees which can save money, reduce carbon footprints and improve work/life balance.

Robert Thorburn, Openreach’s regional director in the North, said: “We continue to do a huge amount of great work across West Yorkshire both commercially and with local partners.

"Faster broadband speeds are such an important part of everyday life, and essential for many small businesses however upgrading to fibre broadband doesn’t happen automatically. To benefit from faster speeds, people first need to check online to see if their area has been fibre enabled, before getting in touch with their broadband provider to arrange an upgrade.

For more information or to find out if fibre is available please visit openreach.co.uk