03
June
2015
|
10:03
Europe/Amsterdam

Digital Durham passes the half way mark

Summary
Digital Durham has passed the halfway mark in the first phase of its fibre broadband roll-out with more than 58,000households and businesses now able to connect to the high-speed technology as a result of the programme.

More than 58,000 homes and businesses can now access fibre broadband because of multi million pound partnership

Digital Durham has passed the halfway mark in the first phase of its fibre broadband roll-out with more than 58,000households and businesses now able to connect to the high-speed technology as a result of the programme.

The multi million pound initiative is progressing at pace and is expected to reach a total of 63,500 premises by the end of this month.

Welcoming the news, Pat Glass, MP for North West Durham, said: “I am really pleased with each update I receive and at the moment when the program has reached the halfway stage and more and more communities are coming on line, I would like to pay tribute to all the staff and engineers who are working hard to complete the Digital Durham program. They are bringing about important upgrades and connecting often remote communities to the opportunities brought about by improved super-fast access to the Internet.

“The Digital Durham project is proving increasingly successful as it provides noticeable and lasting infrastructural improvement to our communities. It allows residents to search for jobs more quickly; it allows local businesses to establish their internet presence and encourages them to explore potentially global commercial opportunities not previously available to them. It engages young people in the latest educational tools using the most modern media technology and facilities and allows families to connect to their relatives and entertainment right across the world, something not possible just a short time ago.”

To celebrate the milestone, the Digital Durham team are running a series of events throughout the County with the first event kicking off at Lanchester Community Centre today. This will be followed by an event at Burnopfield on June 9 at 10am and at Dipton Community Centre on June 12 at 10am. These events will give local people and businesses a chance to meet the team and discover the benefits of faster broadband speeds.

Councillor Jane Brown, cabinet member for Corporate Services at Durham County Council, said: “It is a fantastic achievement for the Digital Durham programme to have reached more than 58,000 homes and businesses across the programme area so far – with that figure setto grow even further by the end of June.

“All the staff and engineers involved in the roll-out have been working tirelessly to reach this milestone and will continue to do so as the project progresses.

“We would urge residents to attend the upcoming events taking place in Lanchester, Burnopfield and Dipton to find out more about the many benefits, both recreational and educational, offered by high-speed broadband.”

A new phase of fibre deployment is already planned. This second phase will see a further £9 million invested in the programme area. It includes £2.68 million from the Government’s Superfast Extension Plan and £4 million from BT, with the remaining investment split between the local authority partners.

A total of 30 new exchange areas have been enabled along with the installation of 264 new green fibre cabinets. One of the most recent places to be upgraded under the current programme is Lanchester, where more than 2,100 homes and businesses now have access to the new technology, with further upgrades planned in the coming months.

Speaking at the Digital Durham community event in Lanchester, Simon Roberson, BT’s regional partnership director for the North East, said: “This is a significant milestone that has been achieved on time thanks to the dedication of around 100 Openreach planners and engineers who have been keeping busy, clocking up thousands of man hours to plan and lay hundreds of kilometres of underground fibre optic cable.

“Superfast broadband will help improve access to jobs, allow local companies to compete in the global marketplace, create new opportunities for local people in the way they work, learn and enjoy their leisure time, and help young people make use of educational resources online.”

Already thousands of homes and businesses across the Digital Durham programme area have ordered fibre broadband and are now enjoying faster broadband speeds of up to 80Mbps[i].

Fibre broadband at home means everyone in the family can do their own thing online, all at the same time, whether it’s downloading music in minutes or watching catch-up TV; streaming HD or 3D movies in a few minutes; or posting photos and videos to social networking sites in seconds. Fibre improves the quality of online experiences and supports new developments in internet services.
Benefits for businesses include faster file and data transfers, better access to cloud computing services and software, more sophisticated web-based contact with customers and support for more flexible working.

Fibre broadband enables multiple users in a home or business to access the internet, download and share large files at the same time more quickly than ever before. In order to take advantage of the higher speeds now available, residents should contact their service provider.
The Digital Durham broadband programme is delivered by Durham County Council and BT.In total, £34 million has been invested by BT, Durham County Council, Gateshead Council, Government funding from Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) and public sector partners in Sunderland, South Tyneside, North Tyneside and the Tees Valley.

The second phase of the programme is expected to begin in 2017 and by the end of the roll-out 97 per cent of premises within the programme area will have access to fibre broadband.

For more information about the Digital Durham programme please visit www.digitaldurham.org

ENDS

For further information please contact the BT Regional Press Office on 0800 085 0660. All our news releases can be found at www.btplc.com/news

180Mbps is the top wholesale speed. Internet service providers (ISPs) may use different speeds in their advertising. Individual line speeds will depend on network infrastructure and the service chosen by the ISP.

Notes to Editors:

Superfast Britain is a Government investment of £1.08bn in broadband and communication infrastructure across the UK. Run by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, this investment helps businesses to grow, creates jobs and will make Britain more competitive in the global race. The portfolio comprises three linked programmes:

  • £780m to extend superfast broadband to 95% of the UK by 2017
  • £150m to provide high speed broadband to businesses in 22 cities
  • £150m to improve quality and coverage of mobile phone and basic data network services
  • Administered on behalf of Government by Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK), Superfast Britain is transforming Britain by promoting growth, enabling skills and learning, and improving quality of life.

    For further information: https://www.gov.uk/broadband-delivery-uk

    About Digital Durham

    The Digital Durham programme‘s vision is to improve the economic and social wellbeing of residents, by enabling a greater access to digital services through the provision of fibre broadband and other ground breaking technologies to businesses, homes and communities in County Durham, Gateshead, Sunderland, the five Tees Valley areas, North Tyneside and South Tyneside.

    Working in partnership with BT, we aim to bring faster broadband to those areas that are outside of any commercial roll-out plans. By mid-2016, we aim to bring superfast broadband speeds to at least 94% of the programme area, with a minimum of 2Mbps for all.