Council concern over ‘outdated’ Northumberland digital inclusion report

A broadband box.
A broadband box.

Northumberland County Council has expressed concern over ‘outdated’ information published this week on levels of access to broadband in the county.

The Go ON UK Digital Exclusion Heatmap showed the likely level of digital exclusion at local authority level right across the UK.

However, the organisation stated that in Northumberland there were 13.8 per cent of households without access to basic broadband.

The council believes this figure is based on historic 2013 OFCOM data which is before the launch of the authority’s £20million broadband rollout programme.

Latest data from Think Broadband shows that 2.1 per cent of households are now without access to basic broadband in Northumberland.

Coun Dave Ledger, Deputy Leader of the council said: “We are committed to reducing levels of digital exclusion for all residents and businesses.

“However, it’s important people have access to the right information and it’s concerning this report has used historic and outdated data which doesn’t reflect the progress we’ve made over the last two years.”

The second phase of the iNorthumberland programme is expected to begin in January 2016 and by the end of the roll-out more than 149,000 premises within the county will have access to fibre broadband.

Coun Ledger added: “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 are working with those communities 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.”

Anyone concerned about their connectivity can go to for more support and information.