Extra £4.1m for broadband in Northumberland

The second phase will provide fibre broadband to more rural communities.
The second phase will provide fibre broadband to more rural communities.

iNorthumberland has today announced that a further 3,000 homes and businesses in the county will get access to fibre broadband as a result of the second phase of its roll-out.

This second-phase contract will see more than £4.1million invested in the programme area in addition to the £18.9million initially invested.

Locations expected to be included in the second phase of the roll-out include Matfen, Hebron, Longhirst, Scremerston, Doddington, Newtown and Tosson. A period of detailed surveying and planning of all potential locations for this second phase will begin in the coming weeks following which more detailed information will be made available.

Coun Dave Ledger, deputy leader of Northumberland County Council, said: “This announcement of phase two of our ambitious broadband programme is great news for more communities and businesses in Northumberland. Access to superfast broadband is becoming fundamental to our everyday lives and it is only right that our residents expect to be able to access faster broadband speeds no matter where they live.

“Working with BT, we have been able to find effective solutions to some of the more difficult-to-reach areas, and we are still working hard to find innovative solutions and improve broadband speeds for those homes and businesses where fibre broadband is not available. We will be approaching those communities in the coming months to talk in more detail about how we can improve speeds for those living and working in areas not currently within the roll-out plans.”

The high-speed network installed by BT’s local network business, Openreach, is available on an open, wholesale basis to all companies offering broadband services so households and businesses will benefit from a highly competitive market. The technology can boost the competitiveness of local firms and offer new ways of flexible working, entertainment and learning opportunities for local residents.

Bill Murphy, BT’s managing director of next-generation access, said: “This second phase will help us to reach some of the even more remote and rural parts of the county. We are committed to making fibre broadband as widely available as possible.

“The issue of broadband access touches all aspects of rural life. Lack of quality broadband affects the ability and agility of rural economies to grow and be resilient and the services and quality of life in rural areas. This is particularly relevant to Northumberland with a population of around 312,000 and no single community larger than 35,000 residents.”

The second phase of the iNorthumberland programme is expected to begin in January next year. By the end of roll-out plans for the two phases, more than 149,000 premises within the programme area will have access to fibre broadband.

For up to date information on available business support and the roll-out, visit www.inorthumberlandbusiness.co.uk or www.inorthumberland.org.uk