Northumberland’s superfast sign-up rates well above average

The superfast broadband sign-up figures in Northumberland are significantly higher than the UK national average of 38 per cent.
The superfast broadband sign-up figures in Northumberland are significantly higher than the UK national average of 38 per cent.

More than half of the homes and businesses included in the iNorthumberland roll-out’s first phase are already signed up to a superfast broadband service, new figures show.

Plus, more than 40 per cent of premises included in the second wave of fibre roll-out have already chosen to upgrade their broadband connection.

In some of the county’s rural communities, such as Swarland, Tranwell Woods and Wall, take-up is exceeding 80 per cent. All these figures are significantly higher than the UK national average of 38 per cent.

Coun Nick Oliver, cabinet member for corporate services at Northumberland County Council, said: “I am extremely pleased that we have hit this milestone in the programme.

“This high demand for fibre broadband is great news for the whole county as it releases additional funding from Openreach, which will be reinvested by iNorthumberland to roll out fibre to even more communities. So far nearly £2million has been reinvested in Northumberland as a result of high take-up.

“We have worked effectively in partnership with Openreach to deliver a high level of access to superfast broadband and look forward to working closely together to address the areas that still don’t have this access as quickly as possible.

“The iNorthumberland team is keen to remind residents that upgrading to fibre broadband doesn’t happen automatically. To benefit from faster speeds, people first need to check that their area has been fibre enabled, before getting in touch with their broadband provider for an upgrade.”

The most recent areas to see superfast broadband being made available include parts of Hepple, Shilbottle, Chathill, Alnmouth, Stocksfield and Slaley.

Mike Reynolds, Openreach programme manager in Northumberland, said: “We are really pleased to see so many people signing up to access fibre broadband. It shows the importance of our work, in partnership with the county council, to make the technology widely available, particularly in rural areas.

“Faster broadband speeds are such an important part of everyday life, and essential for many small businesses.”