North Yorkshire ringing the changes with fat pipes
The European Commission has backed plans to give rural parts of North Yorkshire broadband connectivity.
The Commission concluded plans to publicly fund the network were unlikely to give the North Yorkshire network a leg up over its rivals and distort the competition.
Andy Lister, a consultant from NYnet - the company in charge of installing the network - told silicon.com: "The challenge for North Yorkshire, like many rural places, is that distance and demographics do not necessarily work in terms of investment by telecommunications companies."
Lister said there are around 132 telephone exchanges in the North Yorkshire region but only five to 17 provided a big enough return on investment for service providers to consider a broadband network.
Neelie Kroes, competition commissioner at the European Commission, said this network - which is receiving public sector funding - will help the economic development of North Yorkshire by allowing citizens, businesses and government bodies to reap the full benefits of broadband connectivity.
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NYnet will receive funding to install a high-speed optic fibre ring around the whole of North Yorkshire with users getting ADSL2 services with speeds of around 16Mbps by September 2007.
Lister added: "The [EC] approval gave us the chance to open the core infrastructure to service providers."
BT is working with NYnet to provide the nuts and bolts of the high-speed fibre optic network across the region.
Research from the EC found Europe is trailing behind the US in developing interactive fixed broadband services, as broadband uptake is expected to pass the halfway mark across the pond this year.
The digital divide in Europe is being made worse by large discrepancies in broadband penetration rates across the 25 countries of the EU, according to a report last year from the European Competitive Telecommunications Association (Ecta).
The rate of fat pipe take-up in the UK puts the UK in the sixth spot in Ecta's broadband league table, published last year.