Engineers fish for an internet connection

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Northumberland engineers working to bring high-speed internet to homes and businesses are resorting to some rather unorthodox methods when facing challenges in the county.

The team from Openreach are mostly using a cutting-edge mole plough device to dig, lay cables, then cover them up.

However, adverse conditions have led them to think outside the box, such as using a fishing rod to get a cable across the River Till.

Mike Reynolds, Openreach spokesman for the North East, says this job has been no easy feat.

He said: “Getting fibre broadband to homes and businesses in sparsely-populated, rural areas is not easy.

“We know how the technology works and we know how to get it from A to B but that doesn’t factor in rivers with no convenient bridges, little or no existing infrastructure, ancient monuments, private land or wildlife.”

Other challenges faced by the team of 20 have included Hadrian’s Wall, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and Berwick Bridge, an Ancient Scheduled Monument, which need careful liaison with the National Parks, local authorities and even the Secretary of State.

Mike added: “All the things that make Northumberland such an incredible place to live and work are also the things that make this roll-out difficult.”

But, the team is determined to ‘do whatever it takes to get faster broadband where it needs to be’.

“We want to take advantage of the very latest technology and equipment,” Mike said. “And we’ll think on our feet where the usual method won’t work.”