Jamie Hardesty

Member Article

Corbridge benefits from multi-million pound iNorthumberland project

Corbridge has become the first community in West Northumberland to benefit from the multi-million pound iNorthumberland project, a programme bringing superfast fibre broadband to communities across the area.

More than 1,200 homes and businesses in Corbridge can now get the high speed technology as a direct result of the project.

The iNorthumberland broadband programme, a key part of the council’s growth investment, is being delivered by Arch, The Northumberland Development Company, Northumberland County Council and BT.

BT was awarded the contract following a procurement exercise through the Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) framework.

The company 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 BDUK funds, whilst the remaining £2 million is coming from the European Regional Development Fund.

The ERDF funding will be used to enable fibre connections for more than 2,600 small and medium sized businesses in Northumberland,

In addition, more than 2,000 premises in parts of Haltwhistle and Stocksfield, which also now have access, and other West Northumberland communities, such as Wark, Haydon Bridge, Allendale, Allenheads and Humshaugh, which will ‘go live’ in the coming months.

This builds on BT’s £2.5 billion UK-wide commercial roll-out which has already brought fibre broadband to more than 15,000 homes and business in Hexham, Ponteland and Prudhoe.

Northumberland County Council’s iNorthumberland project recently secured further funding from the Government’s Superfast Extension Plan, which will be used to further extend coverage in some areas not included in the current roll-out plans.

BT’s network will be open to all broadband service providers on an equal wholesale basis and so Northumberland consumers and businesses will benefit from highly competitive products and pricing.

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.

iNorthumberland has developed a free programme of business support to help businesses benefit from online technology by saving time, money and improving efficiency.

Leader of Northumberland County Council, Cllr Grant Davey, said: “I am delighted to be unveiling some of the first communities in West Northumberland to benefit from superfast fibre broadband through our iNorthumberland project.

“I know how important it is to both residents and businesses, and I look forward to hearing some of the stories from those who are now able to benefit from it.”

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