Broadband with 'speed of light' to transform Harrogate district

The ‘vast majority’ of households across Harrogate will benefit from the rollout of a full fibre broadband network, in a ‘revolutionary’ upgrade that promises internet speeds 100 times faster than standard connections.

Thursday, 30th January 2020, 1:52 pm
Updated Thursday, 30th January 2020, 3:07 pm

The development has been hailed as a major step forward for the Harrogate district, with Ripon and Knaresborough also set to benefit from the FibreNation project being delivered by TalkTalk over the next two to two-and-a-half years.

Work has already started on the rollout in Bilton, with Starbeck set to follow suit in the coming months.

Pictured at this weeks launch are FibreNation workmen John Robson and Paul Russell, Head of Ultrafast Engagement and Rollout at FibreNation Paul Crane, Deputy Leader of Harrogate Borough Council, Coun Graham Swift and Coun Don Mackenzie of North Yorkshire County Council.

The news has already been welcomed by a number of business leaders in the town, including representatives from the Harrogate District Chamber of Commerce, as well as the county council and borough council.

North Yorkshire County Council’s executive member for access, Coun Don Mackenzie, said: “We welcome this further investment in the county’s digital infrastructure, which comes at the same time as our Local Full Fibre Networks project is underway throughout North Yorkshire.

“Alongside North Yorkshire County Council’s Superfast North Yorkshire programme, which has brought high quality broadband to more than 175,000 businesses and households, we welcome FibreNation’s substantial investment in Harrogate district and in the ever-expanding local digital economy.”

Harrogate Borough Council’s deputy leader and cabinet member for resources, enterprise and economic development Coun Graham Swift, said: “The announcement of full-fibre arriving in Harrogate is a major step forward towards our ambition to make Harrogate District smart and fit for the 2020s. It follows a UK-leading smart parking initiative in 2019 and further investment will support the town culturally and economically. I look forward to the rollout reaching Knaresborough and Ripon.”

A spokesperson for the FibreNation project confirmed: “We are working with local authorities regarding the build schedule, but we envisage the vast majority of homes and business within the urban area will receive the service in the next two to two-and-a-half years.”

A Harrogate business leader has said the imminent arrival of the revolutionary ‘speed of light’ broadband in the town will have an enormous impact.

The roll-out in the Harrogate District, once completed, will provide a network build of gigabit-ready fibre to an additional 50,000 homes and businesses by 2023.

Delivered by TalkTalk, the introduction of gigabit-capable broadband networks is set to have an enormous effect on residents and traders alike, providing a major boost for Harrogate’s digital economy.

The new 5G connections mean, for example, that an HD film could now be downloaded in just seven seconds, rather than the usual up to 25 minutes.

It’s a prospect warmly welcomed by Sandra Doherty, chief executive of Harrogate District Chamber of Commerce.

She told the Harrogate Advertiser: “Connectivity is vital for all businesses in our district. We so often hear of businesses, even in central locations, which are struggling with slow broadband and feel it is hindering their ability to compete and grow.

“The arrival of high speed fibre connections will make a huge difference to the way local businesses operate, so it’s great news for the Harrogate district economy that these significant improvements are on the way.”

The upgrade has also been welcomed by Jespers of Harrogate stationers. The owner of Jespers, Morgan Morris, said: “In the current retail environment, anything that improves conditions for small local businesses is a benefit.”

The full fibre infrastructure being put in place in Harrogate will give internet suppliers access to a network capable of providing residents and businesses with broadband speeds 100 times faster than standard connections.

A spokesperson for TalkTalk said: “An investment in full fibre is critical for true connectivity at home and in the workplace and will allow for a future of smart homes and smart business development within the Harrogate area.”

TalkTalk’s FibreNation scheme is taking place across the UK to the benefit in total of six million people. Facts provided by the company show:

- A full fibre network can provide gigabit-capable connections of more than 1,000 megabits per second;

- Full fibre connectivity can increase business turnover per worker by up to 3.8% per year;

- A full fibre network in an area can increase employment by between 0.6% and 1.7%;

- More than 85% of SMEs with full fibre reported increased employee effectiveness with 35% reporting new sales and access to new markets.

The Harrogate district’s participation in FibreNation comes at a time when North Yorkshire County Council is busily implementing its own full fibre roll-out to public locations in North Yorkshire via NYnet, its own 100 per cent owned broadband company.

Over the next year or so, it intends to help connect some 370 public sector sites such as council buildings, hospitals and more.

The project will improve the digital network in Harrogate, Knaresborough, Ripon, Tadcaster and across North Yorkshire.