Communities get set for a byte of fast broadband

A MULTI-million pound project to deliver faster broadband services to Northumberland has begun three months ahead of schedule.

Widdrington Station, Alnmouth and Lesbury will be the first to benefit from the iNorthumberland project that will make fibre broadband available to thousands of homes and businesses.

More than 10,700 premises in 12 communities will benefit from the first stages, including Lynemouth where fibre broadband will reach for the first time and Morpeth where it will become more widely available.

In total, the project will lay 660km of fibre – seven times the length of the A1 in Northumberland, and 150,000 premises will benefit.

The initiative is part of Northumberland County Council’s growth investment and will be delivered by development company Arch and BT.

BT, which was awarded the contract through the Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) framework, will contribute £2.9million towards fibre deployment in non-commercial areas, with the county council contributing £7million, plus its £7million share of BDUK funds. A further £2million is provided from the European Regional Development Fund to connect more than 2,600 small and medium sized businesses.

Individual line speeds will depend on network infrastructure and the service chosen.

Arch Chairman and Deputy Council Leader Dave ledger said: “Superfast broadband is extremely important to the economic future of Northumberland. We are really looking forward to watching this project develop across the county and to the council and Arch working closely together.”