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BROADBAND: Major success for the region

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The Government’s announcement that superfast broadband is now available to 95 per cent of UK homes and businesses also marks a major achievement for the North East.

The North East is one of the leading regions for superfast fibre coverage. It has already reached 97 per cent coverage, with around one million households and businesses now having access to superfast speeds of 24Mbps and above, over the Openreach fibre network, despite a variety of geographical and engineering challenges.

Over the past five years, hundreds of Openreach engineers and other workers have been involved in major broadband partnerships with local authorities the length and breadth of the region, laying tens of thousands of miles of new optical fibre and installing thousands of fibre broadband cabinets.

It is one of the largest engineering projects of its kind seen in the region in recent years.

And we are determined to go further.

We are continuing to work with our public sector partners to reach out to even more properties via the successful, multi-million pound Digital Durham and iNorthumberland programmes.

Both are excellent examples of the private and public sectors working together to improve the region’s prosperity and to bring new services to areas, which fall outside the private sector’s commercial programme.

The roll-out of high-speed connectivity has already provided a huge boost to the North East and UK economy. British shoppers spend more online per household than people in any other country, and the pace of change shows no signs of slowing.

Only a handful of countries have made superfast broadband available to 95 per cent of their homes and businesses, but there is still work to do.

Everyone at Openreach is determined to deliver decent broadband speeds to every home and business in Britain.

Derek Richardson

Openreach Programme Director in the North East