Broadband still off in Northumberland hamlets

A resident who has not had broadband since damage caused by Storm Arwen almost three weeks ago has spoken of her frustration.

By Andrew Coulson
Wednesday, 15th December 2021, 12:20 pm
Damage to overhead fibre cables between Mitford and Dyke Neuk.
Damage to overhead fibre cables between Mitford and Dyke Neuk.

Jill Collinson lives in Newton Red House, one of the hamlets affected between Mitford and Dyke Neuk.

The issue with repairing the damage is that the broadband is provided via overhead fibre cables, but operator BT has highlighted the benefits of this method.

Jill said: “We’ve all been struggling to cope as best we can because many of us in this area work from home and are currently unable to do so.

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“It’s ridiculous that the broadband is still off. The damage is extensive, but this wouldn't have been the case if the network had been upgraded and placed underground as in most of the rest of the country.

“BT tells us it could take a few more weeks to repair as a crane is needed and it could need roadworks permission from Northumberland County Council.”

A spokesman for BT's broadband arm Openreach said: “Our engineers have been working flat-out and round the clock after the severe damage caused by Storm Arwen.

“We’re very sorry for the ongoing loss of phone and broadband a small number of people in Newton Red House are still experiencing – the team has already completed some repairs and is doing everything possible to reconnect them as quickly as possible.

“Using an overhead network enables us to roll out full fibre quickly and efficiently and to reach rural communities who could otherwise miss out.

“Using overheard cabling also means much less, and often no, civil engineering which in turn means less disruption for local communities and road users.”