05/11/2015

More than 19,600 homes and businesses in Ashington can now benefit from faster, fibre broadband

Ian Lavery, MP, calls on more residents and businesses to sign up

A car business in Ashington has transformed the way it does business thanks to the iNorthumberland roll-out of fibre broadband.

Owner of Energy Tuning Ltd, Darren Darling, placed an order as soon as he discovered the new technology had arrived on North Seaton Industrial Estate and now he and his team are enjoying superfast speeds of around 74 Mbps. Darren said: “Having fibre broadband has been a massive time saver for us and helps us to run the online side of the business much more efficiently.”

The company specialises in performance and fuel economy tuning, which uses an array of specialised diagnostic tools – that need to be regularly updated with the latest software.

“We have about 20 diagnostic tools which tell us what is going on inside a vehicle’s engine. These need updating daily or a few times a week and we can’t use them while they’re being updated. Before we had superfast broadband it could take more than 24-hours to update a machine which meant coming in at weekends or working overnight so that machines would be ready to use when we need them. Now we can do it in a matter of hours so its something we can do during normal working hours,” Darren added.

More than 19,600 homes and businesses across Ashington now have access to the high-speed, fibre technology thanks to iNorthumberland and BT’s own commercial roll-out. Many have already placed orders with their chosen service provider but many more still have the opportunity to upgrade.

Ian Lavery, MP for Wansbeck, today visited Energy Tuning to find out how the faster broadband speeds have improved business. He said: “Today’s visit has reinforced the fact that superfast broadband brings benefits to most, if not all, businesses. All businesses should certainly be asking themselves how it could be of use to them. Faster internet speeds could help make current work processes more efficient, create a show-stopping website or support an increased presence on social media. There are many benefits just waiting to be exploited.”

Cllr Dave Ledger, deputy leader of Northumberland County Council, said: “This really does demonstrate the value of superfast broadband to local businesses. The broadband programme underpins the growth plans we have for the county – connectivity being a major driver to business growth.  It is great to see Ashington so well connected.”

The iNorthumberland broadband programme, a key part of the council’s growth investment, is being delivered by Northumberland County Council and BT. BT was awarded the iNorthumberland contract in April 2013 following a procurement exercise through the Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) framework. A second phase contract was signed in June which will see more than £4.1 million invested in the programme area in addition to the £18.9 million initially invested by Northumberland County Council, the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) fund, BT and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

Simon Roberson, BT’s regional partnership director for the North East, said: “Getting this network in the ground has been a fantastic achievement and one of the biggest local civil engineering projects in recent years. However, the real test of its success will be the amount of local people, and businesses, taking advantage of it. Not only is superfast broadband of value to business, it also offers many benefits for families, such as downloading music in minutes or watching catch-up TV; streaming HD or 3D movies in a few minutes; or posting photos and videos to social networking sites in seconds. It can also improve access to new job opportunities, and make it easier to shop around for cheaper services.

“Most importantly, it enables everyone in the family to do their own thing online, all at the same time, which can certainly make for a more peaceful household in my experience.”

The majority of premises in Northumberland will be getting access to some of the best broadband speeds in the UK via iNorthumberland and the commercial roll-out of fibre by BT’s local network business, Openreach. Openreach’s network is open to all broadband service providers on an equal wholesale basis and so Northumberland households and businesses can benefit from highly competitive products and pricing.

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