04/09/2014

The iNorthumberland team will be visiting Belford to explain to the local community why faster broadband is such good news.

Around 850 homes and businesses in the village can now have access to the high-speed, fibre technology with more than 500 able to access superfast speeds. Further upgrades will follow in the coming weeks.

Members of the iNorthumberland team will be visiting the Bellview Community Centre on September 12 between 10am and noon to demonstrate the benefits that the new technology will bring.

Councillor David Ledger, chairman of Arch, the Northumberland Development Company, and deputy leader of Northumberland County Council, said: “Fibre broadband has an essential role to play in boosting the local economy and building a more prosperous future for Northumberland.

“Broadband speed is a subject close to the heart of many living and working in this area, so it’s great news that people living and working in Belford can now choose to place an order with the internet provider of their choice and connect to this exciting technology.””

One local business looking forward to benefitting from the uplift in speed is Belford Golf Club.

Manager, Carly Clarke, 23, said: “We offer free wifi throughout the club for both members and the public visiting the club house. These days with so many people having smart phones and devices, they expect to be able to get it. But at the moment, if more than five people are on our network it becomes frustratingly slow and we run the risk of people complaining and going elsewhere. We also have self-catering cottages on the site so people can extend there stay. One of the selling points is free wifi but at times it has been so poor at times that we’ve had to refund people.

“Being a golf club we also attract a lot of customers who visit on business. They want good connectivity to keep in touch with the office or if they’re using the venue for corporate presentations or meetings where they need to download files or slides etc.”

“I think having superfast broadband will definitely make a difference in terms of keeping customers happy and so keeping our return bookings up.”

Bamburgh Councillor, John Woodman added: “It’s clear from other places that fast broadband makes a real difference to people’s lives, and having it in Belford should let businesses improve their efficiency and customer service.”

The iNorthumberland broadband programme is delivered by Arch, Northumberland County Council and BT. BT is contributing £2.9 million towards fibre deployment in “non-commercial” areas with Northumberland County Council investing £7 million plus its £7 million share of the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK programme. The remaining £2 million is coming from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

The majority of premises will be getting access to some of the best broadband speeds boosting the competitiveness of local firms and offering new ways of flexible working, entertainment and learning opportunities for local residents.

Fibre is transforming internet use within the home, from communicating with family and friends to entertainment, shopping and online gaming. It enables everyone in the family can do their own thing online, all at the same time, whether it’s 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 will also improve access to new job opportunities, and make it easier to shop around for cheaper services.

The benefits are also considerable for businesses, which can do much more in far less time. Firms can speed up file and data transfers, collaborate with colleagues and customers on conference or video calls or swap their hardware and expensive software licenses for files, processing power and software from cloud computing. Staff can work as effectively from home as they would in the office.

Farooq Hakim, BT’s regional director for the North East, said: “The roll-out of fibre broadband is advancing across Northumberland with Belford one of the latest places to benefit.

“Whatever you’re doing online, you can do it better and faster with fibre. Whether it’s shopping, downloading music and video, watching TV, social networking, studying or researching homework, once you’ve switched to fibre you’ll never look back.”

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iNorthumberland is working hard to provide the best connectivity possible for areas not currently featured in the roll-out plans, within the funding available.

For up to date information visit www.inorthumberland.org.uk follow @my_broadband on Twitter or find ‘iNorthumberland’ on Facebook or email enquiries@archdigital.co.uk .

Please note: 

– There are a small number of properties in the High Street area that are connected by direct exchange lines and unfortunately at present cannot therefore benefit from the high speed technology.

– Premises in Middleton and Detchant are too far from the new cabinets to order a service.

– A third cabinet serving premises south of Belford at Adderston and Warenford will go live in the next few months.

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