Catching up with the rest of the world

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NEARLY 30,000 homes and businesses in Northumberland will have access to faster broadband by summer.

Alnwick and Amble, along with Bedlington, Berwick, Haltwhistle and Ulgham, are included in the latest roll-out plans for BT’s next generation broadband service delivered over copper lines.

The BT investment makes available broadband speeds of up to 20 megabits per second (Mbps) – more than double the maximum speeds previously available to the majority of UK homes and businesses.

The technology is already available to more than 64,500 homes and businesses across Northumberland and is expected to have reached 84 per cent of premises in the North East by summer. The new generation broadband network is available on an open, wholesale basis to all companies providing broadband services.

This investment is in addition to the £2.5billion BT roll-out of super-fast fibre-based broadband, which is expected to bring even faster speeds to two-thirds of UK premises by the end of 2014.

Coun Roger Styring, deputy leader of Northumberland County Council, said: “We very much welcome this latest announcement from BT. Just like roads and railways, broadband internet is a vital part of the essential infrastructure of Northumberland.

“In an increasingly competitive and technological world, it is essential that local businesses and households have access to faster and more reliable internet connections and this council is committed to ensuring that all of Northumberland’s communities are connected.”

Chris Sayers, BT’s North East regional director, said: “BT’s roll-out of faster broadband across the Northumberland and the North East is running at a very rapid pace.

“We have already announced plans to make super-fast fibre-based broadband available to more than 500,000 homes and businesses in the region by the end of next year. Now we are able to confirm a further major investment in faster broadband speeds over copper lines.

“Nobody is doing more than BT to roll-out faster broadband across Northumberland.

“At a time of economic uncertainty these major improvements will provide a big boost for local businesses and offer many additional educational and entertainment opportunities for local households.

“And we want to go further. We want to work with the public sector to find ways of bringing faster broadband to areas, which are geographically and commercially more challenging.”