Homes log on to speedier web

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CLOSE to 4,000 homes and businesses served by the Amble telephone exchange have been given access to faster broadband, BT has said.

The area has benefitted from the roll-out of the company’s next generation broadband service delivered over copper lines, making available download speeds of up to 20 megabits per second (Mbps) – more than double the speed previously accessible from BT.

Amble Mayor Coun Leslie Bilboe said: “It has been a long time coming but it is very welcome. It is a step in the right direction.”

Colin Harris, chairman of Amble Business Club, said that the area having access to the latest generation of broadband speeds was ‘great news for local business’.

“Not only does it give existing companies the ability to do more on the web, a vital part of 21st-century life, but it also gives us an advantage compared with other rural towns in the area,” he said.

“All businesses rely on the internet in some shape or form; the fact that businesses can access high speeds in Amble will no doubt factor heavily when decision makers are thinking about the location of their next business in the region,” he added.

BT has said that by next spring, around 87 per cent of homes and businesses in the region will be served by an exchange which has been upgraded to deliver higher speeds.

Chris Sayers, BT’s North East regional director, said: “The rapid roll-out of faster broadband continues to reach out to more communities across Northumberland. This major investment is playing a vital role in the future prosperity of the county.

“The technology is changing for the better the way we live and work, helping businesses work more efficiently and flexibly and find new markets. And households are better able to make use of the huge range of online educational and entertainment opportunities available.

“But there is still much work to be done and we want to work with the public sector to find solutions for even the most challenging locations.”

The new service is available to all companies providing broadband.

This investment is in addition to BT’s £2.5billion roll-out of fibre-based broadband, which will bring even faster speeds to around two-thirds of the UK by the end of 2014.