BT to deliver major digital connectivity scheme in Northumberland

Northumberland County Council has appointed BT to deliver a major scheme to boost digital connectivity.

Sunday, 12th July 2020, 6:00 am

The North of Tyne Combined Authority made a bid to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport for a £12million investment from its Local Full Fibre Networks Programme managed by Broadband Delivery UK.

After successfully passing the initial stage, the investment panel were invited to work up final detailed plans which were formally approved in March 2020.

Following agreement by the cabinet, the council will put forward a further £932,111 of funding towards the programme, and have since signed a contract with BT to deliver the scheme in Northumberland.

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Rural broadband.

The funding will pay for the rollout of gigabit fibre internet connections to public buildings across Northumberland, improving the speed and reliability of digital connectivity to these sites.

Coun Nick Oliver, cabinet Member for corporate resources, said: “This is an exciting upgrade to our infrastructure in the county, providing rural Northumberland with better connectivity than many city centres.

“Work has already begun to bring high-speed, affordable and reliable connectivity to our businesses and residents, which is crucial in maintaining our economic competitiveness and achieving social inclusion, now more than ever.”

North of Tyne Mayor Jamie Driscoll said: “Fast, reliable broadband has never been more important. Coronavirus has shown how vital it is that people are hooked up to the internet and can get online for work, daily essentials, and to connect with family and friends.”

Sarah Walker, director for enterprise in the north of England for BT, said: “Our world-class full fibre network will help transform Northumberland’s digital connectivity potential.”

BT’s Enterprise business will be deploying the full fibre network across Northumberland via its infrastructure partner, Openreach.

On a national level, Openreach recently expanded its full fibre ambitions and will bring ultrafast broadband to within reach of 4.5 million homes and businesses across the UK by the end of March next year.

The funding will deliver gigabit capable full fibre connectivity to 271 public sector sites via the Northumberland Gigabit Project, and aims to be complete by early 2022.

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