Kirklees Council has announced it has signed a £13 million superfast broadband deal with BT under the BDUK Phase II Framework.
The deal will make superfast broadband available to tens of thousands more homes and businesses across the region. Over the next few months surveys will take place to decide which parts of Kirklees should benefit from the investment.
E RADAR's Will Roebuck has said that rural towns and villages across Kirklees must get absolute priority for superfast broadband connectivity under this new tranche of funding. This would ensure that the current two tier digital economy across the region - comprising those that have superfast broadband and those that do not - is removed. It is essential that our rural communities now enjoy the opportunities and benefits of the digital economy. It has been estimated that full take up of 'digital' in the UK, including rural economies can add £63 billion to GDP.
But, getting superfast broadband across Kirklees is only the start of a long journey towards ensuring the South Pennines region plays a competitive role in the global economy. The recent EU Commission-backed DigiChampz initiative, which carried out a case study amongst digital users in Kirklees, has demonstrated that the region needs a better rural economic plan which includes digital skills and the development of smarter villages and intelligent communities.