OTLEY is set to benefit from some of the fastest Internet speeds in Europe.

Openreach - a subsidiary of BT - has announced that the town will be included in the first phase of a network build in market towns and villages across Yorkshire and the Humber.

Residents and businesses in the 26 communities that have been named will get access to ‘ultra-reliable and gigabit-capable’ Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) broadband services.

The infrastructure in each of the locations - which also include Skipton, Thirsk, Settle, Embsay and Knottingley - are being upgraded by Openreach, without taxpayer subsidy, in what is hoped will help with each area’s recovery from the coronavirus lockdown.

The programme is expected to get underway in many of the locations within the next 12 to 18 months although, due to the size of the build programme, Openreach says that some work might continue into 2024.

Ward Councillor Sandy Lay (Lib Dem, Otley & Yeadon) said: “Ultrafast Internet speeds will transform the way we provide healthcare, education and community services in Otley and making sure that our residents all have the opportunity to access the same broadband services will help us reduce the digital divide in society.”

Councillor Paul Carter (Lib Dem, Manor), who Chairs Otley Town Council’s Trade & Tourism Committee, added: “This will help us attract new businesses to Otley, create digital jobs and enable more people to work from home which will be good for local retailers as we recover from COVID-19.”

Openreach says it wants to make the new technology available to a further 3.2 million premises in the UK’s hardest to reach ‘final third’.

Leeds City Council, meanwhile, announced earlier this year that council-owned properties, schools, NHS buildings and council houses would be upgraded to full fibre connectivity by the end of the summer, 2022.

That work is being done through a £20.3 million partnership between the city council and BT.