Microwave broadband service launched in Wensleydale

A YORKSHIRE Dales community now has access to improved broadband speeds thanks to microwave technology.

The West Witton broadband service was launched by Rishi MP in the village on Friday.

The village currently doesn’t benefit from the fibre optic broadband network unveiled in Wensleydale last month because the new cabling doesn’t pass through the village.

The new technology delivers the broadband service via a microwave signal beamed to a mast on Pen Hill above the village. The signal and superfast broadband is then beamed down to individual homes and businesses.

The West Witton Community Broadband Scheme is one of six pilot schemes around the UK part-funded by the government in order to explore new technologies that will help extend the superfast broadband network in rural areas.

Rishi said: “I am passionate about improving broadband in rural areas. It is so important to modern life - for education, for business, for families.

“So it is great that one of the government’s pilot schemes to bring improved broadband to communities like West Witton, is being implemented in our area.”

One of the beneficiaries of the new service will be Dr Graham Bottley who runs an online scientific tuition business called InCytometry.

Dr Bottley, who is also a member of the parish council, said the new service would make a significant difference to his business. He had overseas clients but was restricted from expanding by the limitations of his existing service.

He said: “I have some clients outside the UK, particularly in the US, but I can only just service them adequately with my existing service. This will make a huge difference.”

Parish clerk Mrs TC Harker said: “My children have often had to stay late at school to do some of their online homework. They simply could not do it at home because of the poor connection speed.”

Mr Sunak said alternative broadband delivery technologies like microwave could help many more isolated communities get better speeds in the light of the Prime Minister’s announcement last week that broadband above 10 mbs could become a universal service obligation, putting it on a par with water and electricity supplies.

West Witton Parish Council was instrumental in bring the project to the village along with Mr Sunak and  the firms who installed the equipment and provide the service ­- I Love Broadband and Airwave - and BDUK, the government body responsible for delivering superfast broadband.