The Vale of Mowbray Community Broadband Project
By Tim Townsend
Carol Bowe was the driving force behind this project. She owns a caravan park near the village of South Otterington and having suffered from virtually no broadband service for years, was passionate about not only supporting local businesses (a particular concern for rural areas recently) but also providing a better service and infrastructure for the local residents.
The growing frustration was that rural communities were clearly being left behind as the existing phone line network was never going to be upgraded. One of the biggest challenges was trying to spread the word across numerous villages and to both inform people and gather enough support to make the project viable. As with any new technology, there are those who don’t understand the details or don’t see the benefit of “just making the internet a bit faster”.
It involved organising local meetings in pubs and village halls, and writing letters to explain that the benefits are wide-ranging, from assisting with children’s homework, to online shopping, banking and council services, and even how it has a material effect on the value of a property.
Word seems to have spread and the project area has now increased from a couple of villages south of Northallerton to villages further east and north to distances of nearly 15 miles!
Tim Townsend is a Geographical Information Officer for North Yorkshire County Council.