Roll-out disaster averted

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The programme director of the iNorthumberland project has said it was a ‘relief’ when state aid approval was announced for the UK’s broadband project.

It means that the £530million rural broadband scheme can start in earnest, including in Northumberland.

Stephen Gray said that they are on track to start putting the tender out in early December, hoping to complete the procurement process by March next year.

“From April onwards, we will be effectively digging in the ground and laying cable,” he said. “Next year is the start of the real roll-out and that’s obviously great news for businesses and individuals.

“It’s good news and a relief because it’s taken the best part of six months to resolve between the UK and Europe.

“If it had been delayed any further, it would have been a disaster.”

State aid refers to public assistance that could affect trade within the EU and is monitored by the European Commission.