Groups urged to have a say on broadband

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A MAN behind BT’s roll-out of superfast broadband has promised to talk to Scarborough’s business and political leaders after the area lost out in the recent Race To Infinity initiative.

Bill Murphy, BT’s managing director of Next Generation Access, said he would be happy to talk to the local chamber of commerce as well as Scarborough Council to see if a meeting could be arranged.

As reported, Scarborough missed out on having its BT exchange upgraded to a superfast broadband capability because only two per cent of those who were eligible bothered to register their interest.

Mr Murphy said: “I would be happy to meet with the borough council to talk about BT’s plans and ambitions.”

He added that both the town’s MP and local community groups should also be allowed to have their say.

Mr Murphy recently met with Yorkshire MPs, including Scarborough’s Robert Goodwill, at a conference to discuss the need for superfast broadband in rural areas such as North Yorkshire.

He said: “It was great to be able to attend the Broadband North Yorkshire conference and see local MP’s, North Yorkshire County Council and the district councils showing a real passion for next generation broadband.

“Even the heavy snow didn’t manage to put off the many community groups represented in a real demonstration of the Big Society.

“As I said at the conference BT have been working in partnership to deliver broadband to North Yorkshire since 2002 and we want this to continue in the future.

“By working with the public sector and local communities and maximising all sources of funding we can realise the county council’s vision to bring high quality broadband to as near to 100 per cent of businesses and households in North Yorkshire as possible.

“I personally feel this is an opportunity which must not be missed and our intent is to partner, invest and work with the county to help North Yorkshire become one of the best connected locations in the world.”

Recently it was announced that North Yorkshire was one of only four areas to be included in a pilot project to provide super-fast broadband following a successful bid by broadband provider NYnet.

Mr Murphy said that central government had put forward a budget of £830 million to provide a faster broadband network – in addition to funding from the private sector.

He said: “We are assessing what we will be doing with the results from Race To Infinity. We’ve not made a decision whether we will run a second contest or not.

“The feedback was great and we are digesting the information to decide what we do next.”