Local businesses get up to speed superfast

Businesses in Northumberland begin to benefit from superfast broadband. 
Northumberland businesses included in phase one of the iNorthumberland project are already feeling the benefit of superfast, fibre broadband. 

Shepherd’s Walks is just one of the local businesses taking advantage of this new generation of faster, more reliable broadband, which will be made available to 95 per cent of Northumberland homes and businesses by the end of 2016 under the current plans 

The award winning, Rothbury-based company offers bespoke and guided walking tours across Northumberland and North East England. 

Jon Monks, owner of Shepherds Walks, said: “When I first founded Shepherds Walks in 1999 I was more used to shepherding sheep around the hills than people. As the company grew in popularity, we started attracting an increasing number of international visitors. Online marketing and communication has played a significant part in that growth and has made the company what it is today. 

“When we heard fibre broadband was coming to Rothbury, we knew we had to move. Rothbury is an ideal geographical base for us and superior broadband meant we could grow the business online and increase our marketing reach. 

“We moved to Rothbury a year ago and we are so pleased we did. Not only are we in a better position to host larger groups the superfast broadband speeds have changed the way we do business. We can now have three or more people in the office uploading images, talking to customers and sharing files online at the same time. Being a bit of a technology fan and running a rural-based business, broadband speeds have caused me a lot of headaches and frustration over the years. Since I founded this business 15 years ago, I’ve never been more satisfied or happy with my broadband capability as I am now.” 

The high speed technology is also proving to be a hit with local home workers who no longer have to consider travelling to an office to work efficiently. 

Andy Dennis, who lives in Lesbury, signed up for fibre broadband the same day his local cabinet went live. He said: “I work remotely as a business analyst for a multinational organisation so all the work I do is via a computer. Whether it’s pulling data from sources around the world, video conferencing via webcam or sharing files online, communication is key. 

“Before superfast broadband I was considering commuting to an office in Edinburgh instead of working from home as the old broadband just wasn’t fast enough. I simply wasn’t able to do my job. 

“As soon as I knew my local cabinet had gone live, I signed up immediately and was recently able to deliver training to 36 people across the globe simultaneously, which I couldn’t do before. Superfast fibre broadband has allowed me to continue in my current role, spend more time with my family and has saved me the time and expense of commuting to Edinburgh. I can honestly say it’s changed my life.” 

The iNorthumberland broadband programme, is delivered by Arch, The Northumberland Development Company and BT. BT 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. The remaining £2 million is coming from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). The project is bringing superfast broadband to at least 91% of homes and businesses in Northumberland by Dec 2015. A further four per cent of the county will also benefit from a significant improvement in speeds of up to 24Mbps via the fibre network. 

Cllr Dave Ledger, Chair of Arch and Deputy Leader of Northumberland County Council, said: “It is our mission to make Northumberland the place to live and do business. Superfast fibre broadband is extremely important to the economic future of Northumberland and it is heartening to hear what a difference it is making to people’s lives in such a short space of time. 

“Superfast broadband means downloading music, uploading photos, sharing files online, transferring data and communicating with friends and colleagues has never been easier. I urge all residents and businesses in Northumberland to seriously consider the benefits of fibre-enabled superfast broadband. It really is the future and it is here, in our county.” 

More than 10,700 homes and businesses across 12 communities are to be included in the first stages of iNorthumberland’s roll-out programme. In Alnmouth, Lesbury, Widdrington Station, Lynemouth, Red Row, Seahouses and Shilbottle, more than 4,400 premises will be able to benefit as fibre reaches their communities for the first time. There will also be a substantial investment in making fibre broadband more widely available in areas which already have the high-speed technology such as Berwick, Blyth, Ashington, Morpeth and Seaton Delaval. 

For up to date information visit www.inorthumberland.org.uk follow @my_broadband on Twitter or find ‘iNorthumberland’ on Facebook. For enquiries email enquiries@archdigital.co.uk . 


Notes to Editors: 

Superfast Britain is a Government investment of £830m in broadband infrastructure across the UK. This investment helps businesses to grow, creates jobs and will make Britain more competitive in the global race. The programme comprises three focus areas: 
• £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. 

Rollout Map 
Areas indicated on the map as ‘currently under evaluation’ are being assessed against additional funding opportunities, for example further rounds of Defra’s RCBF. This map will be updated to reflect the impact of securing such funding. Please be aware that this map is at a high level and is for early indicative purposes only. It is not accurate to premise or postcode level and should not be interpreted as such. Anticipated rollout plans as currently shown on this map are subject to change. Detailed planning is currently underway, and updated versions of this map will follow regularly up to the completion of the project in 2015. Communities will be notified in advance of superfast broadband being made available in their area. Maps, announcements and responses to frequently asked questions will be available via the iNorthumberland website. Map is based on information as of 1st October 2013. 

The iNorthumberland Digital Economy Growth Programme project is part financed by the European Regional Development Fund Programme 2007 to 2013. The Department for Communities and Local Government is the managing authority for the European Regional Development Fund Programme, which is one of the funds established by the European Commission to help local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support local businesses and create jobs. For more information visit: www.gov.uk/browse/business/funding-debt/european-regional-development-funding 

About Arch 
Arch, The Northumberland Development Company, has been established by Northumberland County Council as an arms-length development company to drive capital economic development, physical regeneration projects and business growth in Northumberland. Arch brings together five subsidiary companies delivering services in housing, commercial property, physical regeneration, digital transformation and business growth. The company has a clear economic focus and will help Northumberland develop credible sites and propositions to win new jobs and businesses for the area.