Rishi has connected one of the most remote communities in North Yorkshire to the fastest broadband.
The Richmond (Yorks) MP spliced the final piece of fibre optic cable which brought gigabit (1,000 mbs) broadband to the hamlet of Cotterdale in upper Wensleydale.
The hamlet five miles west of Hawes now has access to broadband speeds better than many cities.
The new service is the result of collaboration between local volunteers, a community broadband provider and the Yorkshire Dales National Park, supported by the Government’s Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme.
The local volunteers dug in around three miles of cabling to connect their community to Broadband for the Rural North’s ultrafast network at the Moorcock Inn.
Support for the project came from the national park’s Sustainable Development Fund (£10,000) and £47,000 in the form of government vouchers worth up to £1,500 per household and £3,500 per business.
Rishi said: "This is a tremendous example of what can be achieved in a remote location. Cotterdale is one of the most isolated parts of my constituency and yet it now has broadband speed and quality better than many of our cities.
"The volunteers and B4RN have done an excellent job in overcoming geographical isolation and I am delighted that the scheme has also been assisted by £47,000 of Government funding - direct to households and businesses - through the Gigabit Broadband Voucher scheme.
"This is exactly how the scheme is designed to work – getting fast broadband to the most hard-to-reach homes and businesses.”
The project began when resident Dave Colley heard that Broadband for the Rural North (B4RN) were helping the nearby community in Mallerstang, over Lunds Fell, to install fibre optic broadband to houses. Along with other volunteers, he put together a plan, contacted landowners to seek permission to dig across their land, and raised funds.
Mr Colley said: “It’s a game changer for Cotterdale. It gives reliability of service. The service is not affected by weather as the previous BT service was, as all the cables are dug into the ground. And with no mobile signal here, it allows for wifi calling within the hamlet.
Michael Lee, the CEO of B4RN, said: “We work with volunteers who are passionate about getting their communities connected to high speed broadband, because they recognise all the benefits that will bring in terms of connectivity, education and how they run their businesses.
“It’s hard work digging all the fibre in the ground. The only way we can do that is by working with champions in the community. So we are led by two things: community demand and by government policy.
“We have done this through a government voucher scheme. What that means is that the government makes funding available to connect the hardest-to-reach properties.”
Details of the Government’s £5bn Gigabit Broadband Scheme can be found at https://gigabitvoucher.culture.gov.uk/