Leading the way in North East as fibre goes live

Matthew Gould, director general for digital projects for the Government, with local residents Lesley Clarke, Zoe Clarke, Richard Pocklington, Gavin Leader, George Smith, Margaret Livingston-Evans and BT regional partnership director Simon Roberson.
Seated: Paul Cross, Openreach project coordinator, Eshott community lead Andy Godward, Openreach CEO Clive Selley and Coun Glen Sanderson.
Matthew Gould, director general for digital projects for the Government, with local residents Lesley Clarke, Zoe Clarke, Richard Pocklington, Gavin Leader, George Smith, Margaret Livingston-Evans and BT regional partnership director Simon Roberson. Seated: Paul Cross, Openreach project coordinator, Eshott community lead Andy Godward, Openreach CEO Clive Selley and Coun Glen Sanderson.

A Northumberland village is the first in the North East to benefit from an initiative to bring superfast broadband to the most challenging areas.

People living and working in Eshott initially approached iNorthumberland for help and were put in touch with BT’s Community Fibre Partnership programme, which is delivering fibre broadband to nearly 300 communities and organisations across the country.

After discussions and a period of surveying and planning, an agreement was reached for Openreach – the local network business which is part of BT Group – to build new fibre-optic cabling and fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) technology to the village.

The upgrade gives more than 40 homes and businesses in the village access to broadband speeds up to 50 times faster than previously available.

The cost of delivering the new technology was jointly funded by Openreach and the residents themselves.

Eshott resident, Andy Godward, who led the campaign for the upgrade, said: “It’s such a relief to finally connect to superfast broadband. Even after signing the contract, we knew it wasn’t going to be easy to get the technology to the village.

“At times it has been challenging, but thanks to the commitment of all involved, the new network is now up and running and making a huge difference to our lives.”

Clive Selley, CEO of Openreach, visited Eshott this week to see for himself the difference the new technology is making to the community.

He said: “We are working directly with communities, such as Eshott, up and down the region, but this is the first North-East community to go live under our Community Fibre Partnership programme.

“Making fibre broadband available in the small proportion of the country yet to get an upgrade is a major priority for Openreach and working directly with communities like Eshott is just one of the ways we can make that happen.

“The residents here have shown great determination to press ahead with this exciting project and Northumberland County Council and the iNorthumberland team have been hugely supportive in bringing this about.”

For more information, visit www.communityfibre.bt.com
Coun Glen Sanderson, member for the Longhorsley Ward, added: “I have been very pleased to support this project since it was first mooted.  It is a great example of the local community working together with a broadband delivery company, supported by the iNorthumberland programme team.  

“The iNorthumberland programme is having great success in bringing superfast broadband to homes and businesses right across Northumberland. In some communities, such as here at Eshott, a particularly creative solution is needed and through the hard work of local people and BT’s Community Fibre Partnership programme, we can see a very successful outcome.”