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North Yorkshire firms are to be connected to a broadband network as part of a shared IT services scheme, it has emerged.

Under a new contract between North Yorkshire County Council and BT, NYnet is to see some 500 public sector organisations connected via fibre or copper.

The region now has above-average uptake of broadband following the 2006 launch of an initiative to encourage the use of high-speed internet among residents.

David Cullen, chief executive of NYnet, says: "This project will significantly help us achieve our principle objectives of supporting and enhancing the economic prosperity of North Yorkshire."

He adds that the scheme will also improve the "speed, reliability, security and future-proofing of the virtual private networks to our customers".

Local residents are also given access to broadband internet connections as part of a programme funded by the lottery.

The People's Network has seen a total of 340 computers put in public places such as libraries and information centres.

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