January 03, 2006, 17:55 GMT
Yorkshire has followed London and Northern Ireland into the enviable position of having all its local exchanges enabled for broadband
Despite popularised images of a traditional society more used to whippets than Wi-Fi, Yorkshire has hit the coveted milestone of 100 per cent broadband availability.
The final exchange to be broadband-enabled in the region was at Ramsgill Dale in the county of North Yorkshire. The conversion opens up the option of broadband Internet access to 4,000 households and around 800 businesses in the area.
Yorkshire, which includes large metropolitan areas such as Leeds and Sheffield as well as hundreds of rural communities, is now only the third region in the country to enjoy 100 per cent broadband access, according to a spokesman from regional development organisation Yorkshire Forward, who provided cash to open up 24 exchanges deemed uneconomical to convert by BT.
Yorkshire follows London and Northern Ireland into the illustrious 100 per cent club.
However, Jim Farmery, head of technology infrastructure at Yorkshire Forward, said although the 100 per cent milestone is a great source of pride for the region too few business and homes are taking up the opportunities afforded by high-speed Web access.
Farmery said: "This is a very proud moment for everyone involved. Geography is no longer a barrier to progress for any firm in our region.
"But whilst I am obviously delighted that we have reached this stage, I am equally determined that as many firms as possible take advantage of the opportunity that broadband presents."
Farmery added: "Although our region is one the few with 100 per cent broadband access, we also have one of the lowest take-up rates in the UK. This needs to be improved and, over the next few months, we will be doing everything we can to make it happen."
The news follows findings released last week which found the UK is now leading Europe in broadband adoption.