By Betsy Everett

TECHNICAL problems, spiralling costs and public spending cuts mean that some residents and businesses in Askrigg and other parts of rural North Yorkshire will not get the superfast broadband service they had expected.

Although the main part of the village is now receiving high-speed broadband via the newly-installed cabinet, Low Abbotside residents, who are nearest the exchange, are not. Neither is the old Askrigg station site, most of which has just been sold subject to contract.

John Moore, chief executive of NyNet, the company managing the superfast service for North Yorkshire County Council, told Askrigg Parish Council the only hope of getting a fibre-based service to the ones who have missed out is through installation of another cabinet, costing £30-40,000, plus “unknown” installation costs.

Parish council chairman, Allen Kirkbride, said residents had been disappointed when they learned they would not have access to the service that enables much faster internet connection.

“We had expected that those premises nearest the exchange would be in the best position to get the high-speed service, not the ones left out,” he said. “That's what we built our plans on. In all the discussions we have had about bringing new business to the old Askrigg station, or Weatherald’s, site, nobody has ever warned us about this.”

Council clerk, Karen Lynch, said she and her neighbours had had “every expectation” that they would receive the service.

“I have been dealing with NyNet and with BT Openreach for two years on behalf of the parish council, and nobody mentioned there would be any difficulty for those of us nearest the exchange. I didn’t even know there was a problem until the cabinet went live and I tried to sign up,” she said.

Mr Moore said he himself had not known about it: “We have over 700 communities getting the new cabinets in North Yorkshire and obviously I cannot know the potential difficulties with each one,” he said.

One resident suggested a £30,000 Local Enterprise Partnership grant originally intended for a business plan to assess the potential of the site but since put on hold, could be reallocated to finance a superfast broadband scheme.

Cllr Kirkbride said: “As a council, we need to find out exactly what’s happening with the Weatherald’s site, find out if the potential buyers would want superfast broadband, and whether they would pay into a communal fund to get an area solution.”

Mr Moore said he would do his best to help with any negotiations and was already in discussion with Richmondshire District Council.