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The rural fibre broadband rollouts in West Yorkshire and Northumberland have reached their respective halfway points.

More than 30,000 homes and businesses in each of the counties have now gained access to super-fast broadband as a result of ongoing infrastructure upgrades, funded by the government, local authorities, the European Union and BT.

At the end of 2014, the £21.96 million Superfast West Yorkshire rollout, which began in April, had reached 36,463 premises, across communities such as Barwick-in-Elmet, Cullingworth, Hunslet and Crofton.

Some 291km of fibre cable has been laid by Openreach - BT's infrastructure division - in the county over the last eight months, with 49 telephone exchange areas receiving an upgrade.

Tom Keeney, BT’s Regional Director for Yorkshire and Humber, said the programme has made "substantial gains" over the past year, enabling more people to take advantage of fibre broadband.

"It is exciting to hear about the real benefits that people are already experiencing from having this technology," he claimed.

“In the modern world digital connectivity is the 'fourth utility' alongside gas, electricity and water."

The iNorthumberland programme, which kicked off in Alnmouth in January 2014, has also passed the halfway mark, reaching 34,400 homes and businesses at the end of December.

Wooler, Felton, Stocksfield and Haltwhistle are among the locations to have benefited from the deployment, which has seen 225km of fibre cable laid so far.

Some 35 new exchange areas have been fibre-enabled, thanks to the installation of 137 green street cabinets.

Cllr Dave Ledger, Deputy Leader of Northumberland County Council, said the fibre rollout is already having "a huge impact" on the area.

"Residents and businesses across the county keep telling us how much of a difference it is making to be able to access high-speed broadband," he stated.

"I can’t believe we are already half way through the project and that we have already successfully secured additional funding from the Superfast Extension Plan to go even further than specified in the current plans."

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