A deal has been reached to extend the rollout of superfast broadband across West Yorkshire, with a £13 million investment helping to stimulate the initiative.
As part of the Superfast West Yorkshire project, BT and the government have collaborated to roll out access to broadband speeds of 24Mb or faster to 97% of the county's homes and businesses by September 2015, but the new deal will help to boost that even further.
Known as the Superfast Extension Programme, it will aim to boost coverage to 97% by the end of 2018, providing many hard-to-reach areas with hitherto inaccessible internet services over the next three years.
In total, an additional 28,000 promises across West Yorkshire, Kirklees and York will benefit from the investment, which has been engineered by the West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA) and includes £6.89 million of funding from the government's Broadband Delivery UK programme and £6.1 million from BT.
Further investment will be provided on an ad-hoc basis by WYCA and local authority partners to support delivery and day-to-day operations.
Ed Vaizey, Digital Economy Minister, explained that the superfast broadband rollout in the county has already reached more than 60,000 homes and businesses, with 708,000 total premises set to benefit by the end of September.
"This new deal means another 28,000 premises will also be able to access superfast speeds and will provide an additional boost to the local economy," he added.
Councillor David Green, West Yorkshire Combined Authority Member, was quoted by ISPreview as saying that high-speed broadband is as crucial as transport infrastructure in providing essential business links.
He added: "I am pleased that by having a clear vision of what we wanted to achieve and working closely with BT to achieve it, we have found ways to provide crucial high-speed internet access to places that otherwise would not be served."