iNorthumberland to demonstrate the benefits of fibre broadband to residents and businesses at local event

The first phase of the superfast, fibre broadband roll-out in Allendale and Allenheads is now complete, iNorthumberland announced today.

More than 950 households and businesses are able to connect to the new, high-speed fibre technology and members of the iNorthumberland team will be holding a community event at Allendale Village Hall, from 10am to 11.30am, on Wednesday October 21 to answer questions and to explain the benefits.

This will be the first of a series of events throughout the county with another planned to take place at Humshaugh Village Hall on Tuesday October 27 at 2pm.

Welcoming the news, Cllr Dave Ledger, deputy leader of Northumberland County Council, said: “We are delighted that so many residents and businesses in this remote part of the county are able to access fibre broadband and all of the positive opportunities that it brings.

“We would encourage anyone wanting to know more about fibre broadband and its benefits to pop along and meet the iNorthumberland team who will be on hand at Friday’s community event to help answer any questions.”

One local business already reaping the benefits of fibre is the Allendale Brewery. Brewery Development Manager Claire Lee, said: “We are a quickly growing business. We’ve already grown from three to five office staff in the last year but I can’t imagine five of us being able to work with the old broadband connection – it would have been really limiting and would eventually have stopped us from growing further.

“We all need to access the internet simultaneously for our work and with fibre there’s no buffering or delay, its all very quick and seamless. We have an in-house designer and they work with massive files that need to be uploaded really quickly to meet customers’ needs. You need to be able to respond quickly and flexibly these days – customers tend to think less of you otherwise.”

People living and working in the vicinity of Main Street in Allendale are showing the greatest appetite for the new technology with more than a third of them choosing to take a fibre broadband service. This is well above the national average and that figure continues to rise.

Elsewhere in the area, more than 13,000 households and businesses in communities such as Humshaugh, Bardon Mill, Haltwhistle, Slaggyford, Newbrough can access the new fibre network.

Simon Roberson, BT’s regional partnership director for the North East, said: “Getting fibre to rural locations is no easy task, but it’s a very important one. The high number of people choosing to try out the new technology in locations like Main Street clearly demonstrates the growing demand for high speed broadband as more people discover the real benefits for living in today’s digital world.

“Superfast broadband is not just of value to businesses 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.”

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). 

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.

For up to date information on available business support visit www.inorthumberlandbusiness.co.uk 


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