Newcastle contributes as superfast broadband reaches more than 1m homes and businesses

NEWCASTLE is today celebrating the part the city is playing in helping the UK hit a Europe-leading superfast communications target.

The Government has announced that more than 1m people across the country can now access superfast speeds – with Go Digital Newcastle making a real impact in the North East.

The Government’s £1.7 billion nationwide rollout is on track to extend superfast broadband to 95% of UK homes and businesses by 2017.

The rate at which the fibre technology is being rolled out under the programme is now accelerating, up to 40,000 premises gaining access every week.

Go Digital Newcastle is funded by Government body BDUK and other partners, including BT, and is rolling out superfast broadband in phases across the city.

Residents and businesses in several areas already have access to the service. The first fibre broadband cabinet went live at the beginning of July, and the upgraded service is already available to more than 1800 homes and businesses in Walker, Byker, Cochrane Park, Manor Park, Elswick, South Benwell and Fenham.

Residents and businesses who want to take advantage of the service can choose from a wide range of internet service providers. More than 140 in the UK are currently offering fibre broadband.

Faster broadband will not only improve profits for UK businesses, but will create an additional 56,000 jobs in the UK by 2024.The work involved in the current roll out is expected to provide a £1.5 billion boost to local economies.

Cllr Michael Johnson, Newcastle City Council Deputy Cabinet Member for Skills, Business and Enterprise, said Go Digital Newcastle was providing residents and businesses in the city with a fantastic opportunity.

“Go Digital Newcastle will make our city one of the best-connected in Europe once the project is complete,” he said.

“For both residents and businesses who choose to take up the service, it provides the chance to access outstanding broadband speeds that can give a boost to everyday life and work.

“We expect superfast broadband to make a major contribution to the economy of the city and the region as a whole by helping businesses be more effective and efficient, and bringing effortless internet access to homes.

“We’re delighted to hear that more than a million UK homes and businesses are now benefiting – and we’re delighted that Newcastle is at the forefront of the superfast broadband revolution.”

As part of Go Digital Newcastle, businesses, charities and social enterprises in Newcastle, North Tyneside and Gateshead can also apply to Go Digital Newcastle for a connection voucher worth up to £3,000 to get connected to the superfast service.

Free business support including expert advice and masterclasses is also available to those based in the city.

Culture Secretary Sajid Javid said superfast broadband is transforming the way we all live and work.

“You can download feature length films faster, chatting online with family and friends around the world over the internet is more reliable and households can go online simultaneously without the connection slowing down or dropping out,” he said

“For businesses, superfast speeds are boosting profits through increased sales, reduced overheads and accessing markets abroad for the first time.”

Bill Murphy, managing director of next generation access for BT, said: “The Go Digital Newcastle programme is making strong progress, bringing high-speed fibre broadband to local communities ahead of schedule.

“The programme shows the power of the public and private sectors working together. BT has brought technical expertise to the table as well as millions of pounds of investment and, if we can go further, we will do so.

“This exciting technology is providing a major boost for local households and businesses whether they are using it to work more efficiently and find new customers or for online learning and leisure.”

* To apply for a Go Digital Newcastle connection voucher or to learn about the free business support that’s available, visit www.godigitalnewcastle.co.uk, call the team on 0191 277 1625 or email godigitalnewcastle.co.uk

Notes to Editors:

* For more details contact Julie Martin or Adrienne Hunter at Cool Blue Brand Communications on 07900 921126 - julie.martin@coolblue.co.uk or 07542 091020 - adrienne.hunter@coolblue.co.uk

For generic pictures of the BDUK fibre deployment, please go here; https://www.flickr.com/photos/107803477@N08/sets/
For more details about fibre broadband roll-out plans go to www.bt.com/furtherwithfibre

  • The Go Digital Newcastle project is part-financed by the European Regional Development Fund 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 BT
BT is one of the world’s leading providers of communications services and solutions, serving customers in more than 170 countries. Its principal activities include the provision of networked IT services globally; local, national and international telecommunications services to its customers for use at home, at work and on the move; broadband, TV and internet products and services; and converged fixed/mobile products and services. BT consists principally of five lines of business: BT Global Services, BT Business, BT Consumer, BT Wholesale and Openreach.

For the year ended 31 March 2014, BT Group’s reported revenue was £18,287m with reported profit before taxation of £2,312m.

British Telecommunications plc (BT) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of BT Group plc and encompasses virtually all businesses and assets of the BT Group. BT Group plc is listed on stock exchanges in London and New York.

For more information, visit www.btplc.com.