Skipton MP Julian Smith told delegates at the second Broadband North Yorkshire Conference that a new chapter is beginning for broadband in the county.

The MP was joined by Harrogate and Knaresborough MP Andrew Jones in hosting the conference, organised as part of the campaign backed by every Member of Parliament in North Yorkshire.

It was held at Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Visitor Centre near Ripon.

BT and North Yorkshire County Council were invited to give more details about their plans for the broadband roll-out and they officially launched the Superfast North Yorkshire project which will deliver at least 2Mbps to every property.

The project will create 35 jobs and 10 apprenticeships and will utilise the skills of 500 planners, 1,000 install engineers and 500 civil engineers Communities heard about the achievements so far and the work that will be done in the coming months. They also heard from the chief executive of UK Online Centres, Helen Milner, who spoke about the benefits of having good connectivity.

Businesses had the chance to discuss the opportunities that having better broadband would bring with speakers including Barry Dodd, chairman of the Local Enterprise Partnership and representatives from UKTI and Google.

Google also announced it was giving three free online training courses to North Yorkshire businesses to explore the way they could benefit from having good quality broadband.

Mr Smith said: “North Yorkshire is the first pilot area to start the roll-out of superfast broadband and this conference was an opportunity for residents and businesses to question BT and North Yorkshire County Council about their plans.

“Having secured millions of pounds of public money to boost our economy and give residents the same opportunities as those in major towns and cities from being better connected, Members of Parliament will now be watching BT and the county council to ensure they deliver on their promises.

“The next few years promise to be exciting times in North Yorkshire when the digital divide between urban and rural communities is narrowed bringing more companies, jobs and opportunities to our cities, towns and villages.”