Fishburn leads the way as dozens of local households and businesses order super-fast broadband

Phil Wilson MP joins the community of Sedgefield to learn more about the benefits of fibre broadband 

Super-fast broadband has arrived in and around the Sedgefield area, with Fishburn leading the way with the top demand for superfast speeds.

More than a third of all the new fibre broadband connections ordered across the Sedgefield area since the first street cabinet went live in early January are in Fishburn. Many of those benefitting from the new technology are now surfing the internet around 20 times faster than before.

With nearly two hundred orders placed this month in the Sedgefield area, demand continues to grow as more and more local people opt for the sophisticated fibre technology, which can see their speeds increase to up to 80Mbps1.
Phil Wilson, MP for Sedgefield, joined representatives from the Digital Durham programme, BT and members of the local community at Sedgefield Parish Hall to hear why faster broadband is such good news.

He said: “It is great that people in Fishburn and other parts of my constituency have chosen to discover what increased internet connectivity can do for them. There can be few areas of modern life which are not influenced in some way by broadband connectivity – whether it’s support how we work, how we learn, how we communicate with friends and family, how we entertain ourselves. Increasingly that connectivity needs to be superfast, as more and more of our lives move online, so now is the time to embrace it and switch to the superfast lane.”

In total more than 2,800 homes and businesses in Sedgefield now have access to the high-speed, fibre technology thanks to the Digital Durham programme. Nine new fibre broadband cabinets, which are connected to the telephone exchange at Bishop Auckland by around 25 km of underground optical fibres, have already ‘gone live’ and further work is scheduled to bring the technology to a further 1,200 premises. This includes 250 premises in the vicinity of

Neville Drive where telephone lines are not served by a street cabinet but run straight from the phone exchange to homes and businesses. A new street cabinet will be installed, enabling those properties to benefit from the upgrade.
Councillor Jane Brown, cabinet member for Corporate Services at Durham County Council, said: “It is really pleasing to hear that thousands of people in Sedgefield now have access to super-fast broadband.

“As a council we are committed to helping residents and businesses across the county get connected to fibre technology, which will help improve access to jobs, allow local companies to compete in the global marketplace and create new opportunities for local people in the way they work, learn and enjoy their leisure time.”

The high-speed network installed by BT’s local network business, Openreach, is available on an open, wholesale basis to all companies offering broadband services so Sedgefield households and businesses will benefit from a highly competitive market.

The high speed service will boost the competitiveness of local firms and offer new ways of flexible working, entertainment and learning opportunities for local residents.

At home, fibre broadband 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. 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.

Simon Roberson, BT’s North East regional partnership director, said “Every day the number of services delivered to us online, whether designed to entertain, educate or meet our daily needs, is growing.

“For businesses fast, reliable connectivity is crucial to both present and future success. As content and applications continue to develop and become even more sophisticated fibre broadband will play a vital part in enabling smaller businesses to keep up. “Already having an effective website and presence on social media is key to many businesses, offering a cheap and effective way of reaching a global audience.”

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. It is also aiming to provide a minimum of 2Mbps broadband speeds for all within the programme area.

BT’s investment of £5.9 million bolsters the public sector investment, which originally included £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 2014 more than £1 million of further government funding was secured to invest in extending fibre broadband coverage in the Durham and Tees Valley area.

The extra funding, along with an additional investment from BT, will enable Digital Durham to extend the reach of next generation fibre broadband coverage to 98 per cent of County Durham homes and businesses.

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


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 and the five Tees Valley areas.

Working in partnership with BT, we aim to bring faster broadband to those areas that are outside of any commercial rollout plans. By mid 2016, we aim for at least 90% of properties to have a minimum of 24 Mbps and all premises at least 2 Mbps; and the remaining 10% to have 24 Mbps by the end of 2017.