Multimillion investment in county broadband

HIGH-SPEED broadband will be rolled out to almost every home and business in Northumberland in an £18.9million deal.

Northumberland County Council and BT will provide the link to 95 per cent of properties in the area.

A massive 660km of fibre will be laid — seven times the length of the A1 in Northumberland.

The first premises should be connected in January and once the project is complete 91 per cent of properties will have access to broadband speeds of up to 80Mbps, a further four per cent could see improvements to 25Mbps and at least 2Mbps should be available to all.

Currently, the county’s average downstream speed is 8.3Mbps, while almost 16 per cent of premises receive less than 2Mbps. Individual line speeds will still depend on network infrastructure and individual providers.

The iNorthumberland programme, managed by Arch, has been funded with £7million from the council, a further £7million from its share of the Government’s BDUK scheme, BT is contributing £2.9million and £2million will be provided by the European Regional Development Fund.

Council Deputy Chief Executive Kate Roe said: “This is an important step in the campaign to bring faster broadband speeds to every home, business and school in Northumberland. Working with BT we will be announcing the installation schedule in the coming months and communities across the county can look forward to improved access to online services and better connectivity for businesses from 2014 onwards.”

The initiative has been welcomed by the North East Chamber of Commerce.

For more information, visit www.inorthumber