INTERNET users in east Cleveland will soon be able to access superfast broadband after a further £300,000 investment was announced.
Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council was awarded the money, taking the total amount available for new infrastructure in the borough to almost £1m.
It means about 93 per cent of the borough should have access to superfast fibre optic connection by 2016 while the remaining areas should have access to at least 2MB/s.
The investment follows a campaign spearheaded by Moorsholm resident Trevor Watson and Moorsholm Village Community Forum.
The grant followed an application to the Rural Community Broadband Fund and adds to £260,000 from the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) scheme, awarded last year.
The BDUK grant was matched by the council, attracting a private investment of £170,000 from British Telecom and bringing the total fund to £990,000.
Mr Watson said: “This has been a long time coming but I am really pleased that finally funding has been found to help increase broadband speeds for Moorsholm and other areas of East Cleveland.
"Clearly we have to wait to see what BT’s survey nearer the time shows in terms of who benefits and by how much, but when the work is completed a lot of people will finally be able to move into the 21st century in computing terms.
“Thanks must go to Redcar and Cleveland Council, Tees Valley Rural Community Council and the other bodies who jumped through all the hoops to submit funding bids on our behalf. It is not easy to appreciate how much work by so many organisations and individuals went into securing the cash.”
In accordance with the criteria of the first grant, key development sites such as Kirkleatham Business Park, as well as parts of Redcar and Eston with slower connections, will be upgraded by 2015.
Beyond that focus will turn to areas around Saltburn and Skelton with main superfast infrastructure works expected to start towards the end of 2015.
The latest funding is expected to connect about 1,000 properties in Moorsholm, Scaling, Loftus, Easington and south of Skelton by early 2016.
Christopher Massey, the council’s cabinet member for environment and rural affairs, said it was fantastic news for the borough.
Councillor Massey said: “As part of the bidding process we asked people in east Cleveland to register their interest in the scheme, to help build the borough’s case.
“There was a fantastic response with as many as 90 per cent of people supporting the bid in some areas. This support that was crucial to the success of the bid.”