First phase of Northumberland broadband roll-out complete

From left, Northumberland County Council leader Grant Davey, deputy leader ,Dave Ledger, MP for Berwick, Anne-Marie Trevelyan and BT's Simon Roberson.
From left, Northumberland County Council leader Grant Davey, deputy leader ,Dave Ledger, MP for Berwick, Anne-Marie Trevelyan and BT's Simon Roberson.

The first phase of the county’s iNorthumberland scheme has been completed with more than 52,500 homes and businesses now able to access fibre-broadband speeds.

Survey and planning work is already well under way on the second phase of the roll-out with the first homes and businesses expected to be connected in the late summer.

This additional £4.1million investment will bring fibre-broadband speeds within reach of a further 3,700 homes and businesses across the county by June 2017.

In north Northumberland, communities such as High Buston, Great Tosson, Newtown, Low and High Hauxley, Denwick, Ellingham, North Charlton, Burgham Park, Rock, Lucker, Craster and Scremerston, are set to benefit.

Coun Dave Ledger, deputy leader of Northumberland County Council, said: “The council is playing a pivotal role in bringing superfast broadband to homes and businesses across Northumberland and has been pleased to make such a significant investment in this important service.

“The roll-out programme has not been without its challenges and, with the first phase now complete, we will now be tackling some of the most difficult-to-reach, rural locations in the county.

“I am looking forward to seeing more communities benefiting during this next phase and even that is most certainly not the end of the story.”

In recent weeks, rural communities including Newton on the Moor, Duddo, Fenwick, Lowick, Elsdon, Ancroft and Acklington have all been upgraded.

Berwick MP Anne-Marie Trevelyan, who has long campaigned on rural broadband, said: “Decent broadband is the fourth utility for all our homes and without decent broadband, our children cannot do their homework, small businesses cannot grow and farmers cannot submit their online Defra forms.

“It’s great news that fibre broadband is reaching some of our most remote and rural communities and I look forward to seeing even more progress during the second phase of the programme.

“There is still a lot more to do, and I hope the new Digital Economy Bill, which will bring in a universal service obligation for broadband, will provide that final push for proper connectivity across Northumberland.”