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Ellen Forster

Member Article

1,000 more homes benefit from £25 million Digital Durham broadband programme

Fibre broadband is now available to around 1,000 homes and businesses in Bishop Auckland as a direct result of the multi million pound Digital Durham programme.

Digital Durham is a £25 million initiative to transform broadband speeds for businesses and residents across County Durham, Gateshead, Sunderland and the Tees Valley.

In April 2013 a partnership of eight local authorities, including Durham County Council, agreed a deal with BT to extend high-speed fibre broadband availability to around 94 per cent of premises by the end of 2016.

BT’s investment of £5.9 million bolsters the public sector investment, which includes £7.8 million from Durham County Council & Gateshead, £9.1 million Government funding from Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) and a £1.3 million contribution from public sector partners in Sunderland and Tees Valley.

In February this year more than £1 million of further funding was secured from the Rural Community Broadband Fund which will be invested to extend fibre broadband coverage in the Durham and Tees Valley areas.

Cllr Jane Brown, Cabinet member for corporate services at Durham County Council said: “As a council we have made a public commitment to improving super-fast broadband access for residents and businesses across the county.

“We are pleased to be working with BT to improve learning opportunities for our children and young people as well as the creation of jobs for residents throughout County Durham.”

Simon Roberson, BT’s North East regional partnership director, said: “Small enterprises are the engine room for rural local economies and super-fast broadband is now the fuel that drives them. For example, research in Cornwall revealed that 37 per cent of businesses surveyed said superfast broadband had helped them generate new sales.

“But it is not just business, from children doing their homework to caring for our elderly population and from social media, to e-commerce and home entertainment – fast broadband is the critical enabler.”

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Ellen Forster .

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