Rothbury signals strong demand for better broadband ahead of Alnwick, Berwick, Morpeth, Blyth, Hexham and Cramlington

Residents in the Rothbury area have signalled their desire for better broadband.

Friday, 13th November 2020, 12:27 pm

More than 700 households and businesses in the Rothbury electoral division have signed up to the government led initiative.

It represents 30% of the 2,276 household and business registrations within Northumberland – putting Rothbury ahead of major towns like Morpeth, Alnwick, Hexham, Berwick, Blyth and Cramlington.

Those registering their interest in improving their connections would be allocated £1,500 per household and £3,500 per small/medium business, which would be paid to any supplier that is interested in delivering the hyperfast connections.

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Rural broadband.

It is not the first time the Rothbury area has been successful in drawing down government funding to improve its internet connections.

In 2012, a campaign led by local councillor Steven Bridgett, saw households and businesses in and around Rothbury and Thropton become one of the few successful communities across the country that drew down nearly £500,000 from DEFRA’s Rural Community Broadband Fund.

Since then, superfast broadband has spread out into many of the other rural villages in the surrounding area.

Cllr Bridgett, who represents the Rothbury division on Northumberland County Council, said: “The residents that I represent are extremely engaged, they understand the importance of decent broadband and I cannot thank them enough for taking the time to sign up to this scheme.

“So high is the demand in our area, we have already been approached by a new supplier who are keen to build a new network in our area that will offer competition to the current Openreach monopoly.

“We have not only seen significant demand in the Rothbury and Thropton areas but also in Whittingham, Glanton, Netherton, Alwinton, Holystone, Sharperton, Harbottle and Callaly and, should we be successful in getting all of the households and businesses in those villages and everywhere in between signed up, to the new supplier, we could potentially draw down over £4 million from central government, for this project.

“This is a real opportunity to put our area ahead of many of the major towns within Northumberland and future proof our internet connections which will be a huge boost to our rural economy but, to do that, we will need the continued support of local residents to help progress this scheme.”

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