• The iNorthumberland project has now reached more than 37,500 premises
  • Latest figures revealed as next stage of tackling the final five per cent of hardest to reach areas in the UK begins

The Government’s nationwide rollout of superfast broadband has now reached more than two million homes and businesses, figures published today (Monday 9 February) reveal. As part of this, iNorthumberland has delivered fibre broadband access to more than 37,500 premises across the county.

The UK-wide rollout is delivering superfast access – internet speeds greater than 24 Mbps – to those properties not covered by existing commercial networks and is on track to take superfast access to 95 per cent of the UK by 2017.

iNorthumberland recognises the importance of a fast internet connection to individuals and businesses alike, and, together with Government, has invested £18.9 million in delivering superfast broadband to Northumberland. Around 80 per cent of the UK already has access to superfast speeds, and the rollout is currently reaching an additional 40,000 homes and businesses every week.

Culture Secretary Sajid Javid said: “Today there are thousands more homes and businesses in Northumberland with access to superfast broadband than there was two years ago as a result of this ambitious project. We want everyone in the UK to be able to enjoy the benefits of superfast broadband, that’s why we’ve begun work on reaching the last five per cent of communities not covered by existing plans.”

Focus is now firmly placed on the hardest to reach areas that make up the “final five per cent” of the UK not covered by existing plans, and Government has already begun work on extending superfast coverage to these communities.

The seven schemes will:

  • Generate evidence about the cost of delivering superfast speeds in these hardest to reach areas, in order to better understand the level of public investment that will be needed
  • Build capacity and capability in the market, and increase the market’s knowledge of State aid requirements, by sharing the pilot findings as widely as possible
  • Generate evidence about expected levels of take-up in hardest to reach areas, and how it can be incentivised

Cllr Dave Ledger, deputy leader of Northumberland County Council, said:   “These are fantastic figures, and we are very proud of the achievements of the iNorthumberland project so far.  However we are not complacent.  We know that there are still some communities and areas in Northumberland where more work is needed – and we will be doing everything that we can through the programme to support them.”

Bill Murphy, BT’s managing director for Next Generation Access, said: “Today marks a giant step forward in the rollout of fibre broadband in Northumberland and across the UK. Across the county more than 132,000 homes and businesses now have access to high-speed fibre broadband thanks to iNorthumberland and BT’s own commercial fibre broadband programme. We are now reaching into the heart of scores of communities across the county that have so far been beyond the reach of this vital technology.

“There can be few areas of modern life which are not influenced in some way by broadband – whether it’s supporting how we work, how we learn, how we communicate with friends and family, or how we entertain ourselves. Now’s the time to embrace high-speed broadband and switch to the superfast lane.”

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