Historic Robin Hood’s Bay gets high speed broadband for the first time.

Robin Hood’s Bay, the historic village and former smuggler’s haven on the dramatic North Yorkshire coast, is now offering visitors and holiday-makers access to high speed broadband for the first time via the Bay Broadband wireless network.

View over Robin Hood's Bay

Bay Broadband Cooperative was successful in becoming one of the latest Community Broadband Projects to be funded by Defra’s Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE), with match investment from NYnet and the Community itself.

Jim Foster, Publicity Officer for Bay Broadband Cooperative, said:

“We were the first to bring broadband to the bay in 2004 when we created the social enterprise and this has worked well for us for some time. Since then the technology has advanced so much and the importance of broadband to local businesses, residents, the tourist industry and visitors further  increased,  we needed to bring our network bang up to date.

“Following discussions with NYnet and RDPE we were able to use funding to gain access to high speed fibre via the NYnet connection at the Whitby Environment Centre.  This has made a huge difference to subscribers who are now able to access speed in the region of 10-12 Mbps with the option to increase as the requirement grows.

“Since the upgrade of our network, we are now supplying over 140 subscribers and have connected up holiday cottages, bed and breakfasts and 3 local hotels (the Flask Inn, the Grosvenor and the Bay Hotel).”

The Bay Hotel sees the broadband as a major attraction for its visitors.  With the hotel as the final check-in point for the 192 miles St Bees to Robin Hood’s Bay coast-to-coast cycling and walking route, it offers free access to patrons so they can check-in whilst enjoying a much deserved pint.

Alan and Margaret Dawson, owners of the Lee-Side premier B&B, and the latest subscribers to the network, said:

“All the guests that have stayed with us since we had the new connection installed have taken advantage of the wireless service.  We’ve now realised that it’s important to have this service for our guests and it’s a must have for us to be able to compete with other B&Bs.”

Visitors can access the wifi hot spot in Robin Hood’s Bay by visiting the website www.rhbmesh.net and the network is compatible for Smart phones.  Bay Broadband Cooperative continues to support the commercial life of the community and has already expanded its coverage to outlying areas of the North York Moors where no other broadband is accessible.

Jim Foster added:

“One of the objectives of the cooperative is to attract and retain home workers and their families, thus contributing to the social and economic well being of the community.  To this extent we have been successful and several of our members who work from home admit that without the services of the cooperative they would either have had to move or not have come to live in the village in the first place. “

One example is Cliff Southcombe who runs a European based company Social Enterprise Europe Ltd from his office at home.  He said:

“Increasingly our work depends on faster and more reliable broadband connections as we make more use of video conferencing and the sharing of larger more interactive documentation.  Not only has the existence of the cooperative made working like this possible but it has managed to continually improve the service to match our growing demands.  Even though other providers are now in the village their quality of service does not match that of the co-operative and our business would have suffered had we relied on them.”

 Julie Burton, Community Officer for NYnet said:

“We have been working closely with Bay Broadband Cooperative since we began looking at community projects in 2008 and have worked through every option to provide a connection from our core network into Bay’s gateway.  Finally we were able to find a good solution by working with the NYCC Environmental Centre at the Whitby Business Park.  It’s thanks to their approval and cooperation that we were able to provide the vital link.  I am absolutely delighted that we could help the community continue with their hard work to make the Bay a great place to work and live.”

To find out more about Bay Broadband please visit www.rhbmesh.net.  For more details on the community project please visit www.northyorks.gov.uk/broadband

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