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Stanbury and Oxenhope pupils make internet plea
Schoolchildren have helped put the case to Bradford Council for faster Internet connections in the Worth Valley.
Stanbury and Oxenhope primary schools were part of a group that quizzed last week’s full meeting of Bradford Council.
Oxenhope businessman, Ken Eastwood, was also accompanied by sixth former, Elliott Barker, when he told councillors why faster broadband was needed.
Mr Eastwood is a leading light of community group FibreValley, which campaigns for better broadband in villages like Oxenhope, Stanbury and Haworth.
He told councillors “digital disadvantage” in the Worth Valley was having a negative effect on quality of life, jobs and growth, tourism, agriculture and education.
Elliott told councillors students now needed good Internet connections in order to complete homework and share files with teachers and other students.
Council leader, Coun David Green, responded that the council was committed to supporting broadband across the whole district, including rural areas.
He said the £22 million Superfast West Yorkshire project – funded by the government, the European Union and telecoms giant BT – would deliver access to superfast broadband to 97 per cent of the county.
And broadband speeds will be brought up to a minimum of 2MB in remaining areas.
Mr Eastwood later said that the council’s response did not tell Fibre Valley anything new or explain which areas would benefit from the Superfast West Yorkshire project.
He said: “Until we know that, it is impossible to develop alternative projects.
“Nobody is going to fund a business case to provide a community broadband scheme if BT, spending public subsidy, could subsequently roll out a super fast service.”
Mr Eastwood was pleased that the proposed Bradford local plan – also discussed at the council meeting – had been amended to recognise the importance of broadband.
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