NYnet steps up for local community

NYnet steps up for local community

NYnet has fulfilled its promise to the community of Newton-on-Rawcliffe, to ensure that its broadband service can continue despite problems with the incumbent service provider.

It was announced on 13th April, at a hearing at Leeds Crown Court, that NextGenus UK CIC and Fibrestream had been forced into administration. NextGenUs CIC was the service provider that ran the wireless network in the villages of Newton and Stape. NYnet offered its full support to the community and CIC regulators to ensure the service remained up and running until a suitable alternative provider could be appointed to maintain a sustainable network. This has now been resolved and Quiet PC in partnership with Beeline Broadband are now the Internet service providers for the Newton network.

David Cullen, chief executive of NYnet, said, ‘We have been asked by several communities in the past, what happens if the service provider goes bust, will there still be a network? We have reassured them that NYnet will take all necessary steps to protect end users and this is clearly an example of just such a situation. It’s unfortunate, but it’s a fact of business life in this economic climate.’

The project, funded by North Yorkshire County Council through NYnet, began in the spring 2010 and enabled access to high speed broadband for the residents of Newton-on-Rawcliffe and the neighbouring hamlet of Stape. Since then it has connected residents in the villages of Levisham, Cropton and Dalby Forest and continues to grow with more than 100 subscribers.

Before the project was rolled out the village of Newton-on-Rawcliffe suffered from a slow or non-existent Internet connection, which limited economic opportunities, further isolating the rural community. The project has helped reverse the trend of urban migration, enabling residents and businesses to remain in the village and stimulating the community’s economic and social regeneration.

NYnet provided fibre optic based Internet to within striking distance of the village, where it is beamed wirelessly to the rest of the village via the fibre hub at Lady Lumley’s School in Pickering. As a result of this initiative, residents are able to access broadband connections of up to 10Mbps.

Mike Steele lives at Kale Pot Hole five miles outside Newton-on-Rawcliffe. His nearest neighbour is half a mile away and the property is incredibly remote. Mike runs a holiday cottage and an events management company from his home.

He said, ‘I advertise my holiday cottage online and send and receive big files for my events management company. With my brother living in New Zealand, my daughter in Florida and my cousin in Venezuela I rely on the Internet to stay in touch. If we were to lose the connection it would have left me and my wife very isolated.

‘My businesses would have suffered and we would have really struggled to stay in touch with the family. We were very grateful to NYnet for stepping in and setting up the new service provider partnership with Quiet PC and Beeline Broadband.’

The Newton scheme was the pilot for community broadband projects and has helped secure grants from Defra and North Yorkshire County Council (NYCC) for future projects. NYCC is expecting to fund a further 15-20 schemes built on the Newton model over the next couple of years. NYnet is also running a procurement to establish a framework (or list) of community service providers to operate schemes such as these, on behalf of NYCC and other county councils adopting a similar approach around the country.

The framework will be in place to fall in line with the Connecting North Yorkshire initiative, which is due to award a contract in July this year for next generation broadband across North Yorkshire and York.

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