Seaton valley super-fast broadband roll-out crosses finishing line

Ronnie Campbell MP joins the iNorthumberland team in Seaton Delaval to learn more about the benefits of fibre broadband 

The super-fast broadband roll-out in Seaton Valley is now complete with thousands of homes and businesses now able to access the new, high-speed technology, iNorthumberland announced today.

All of the 21 street cabinets in the parish have now been upgraded making broadband speeds of up to 80 Mbps available to local households and businesses. A small number of premises have access to even faster speeds of up to 330 Mbps1 through fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) technology, where the fibre runs all the way to the home or business.

Around 7,500 homes and businesses in Seaton Sluice, Holywell, Old Hartley, New Hartley, Seghill and Seaton Delaval can now place orders as a result of iNorthumberland and BT’s commercial roll-out of the technology - and many have already done so with around 1,500 signing up to a fibre broadband service.

Ronnie Campbell, MP for Blyth Valley, joined representatives from the iNorthumberland programme and BT at the Crescent Café in Seaton Delaval to find out what difference fibre broadband has made to the Arrighi family’s Italian ice cream business.

He said: “It’s been very interesting to come here today and meet the Arrighi family who have understood what superfast broadband can do for them and have chosen early on to take advantage of this new technology.

“It’s important that other local residents and businesses follow their lead and take advantage of the benefits of faster broadband.”

Cllr Dave Ledger, deputy leader of Northumberland County Council, said: “Super-fast broadband offers huge benefits to local residents and businesses and will help our local economy to flourish and grow.

“Better, faster communications will undoubtedly help businesses to realise their potential and stimulate job creation in the county. While at home, people can do more online at faster speeds and on multiple devices.”

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.

Francesco Bonadies, manager of the Crescent Café, said: “Our upgrade to fibre broadband has been a huge success. With speeds of around 38Mbps we have been able to offer our customers free Wi-Fi which enables them to pick up emails or surf the net while enjoying a cup of coffee or an ice cream. We have noticed a significant increase in the number of business professionals using their café for work and meetings as a result. We’ve also been able to install wireless payment systems and update and run our website much more efficiently than before.

“Faster internets speeds have improved the way we do our online business and have also improved the service we can offer to our customers.”

The iNorthumberland broadband programme, a key part of the council’s growth investment, is being delivered by Northumberland County Council and BT. BT was awarded the contract following a procurement exercise through the Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) framework. The company 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 funds. The remaining £2 million is coming from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). 2 The ERDF funding will be used to enable fibre connections for more than 2,600 small and medium sized businesses in Northumberland.

iNorthumberland recently secured funding from the Government’s Superfast Extension Plan which will be used to further extend coverage in some areas not included in the current roll-out plans.

The majority of premises in Northumberland will be getting access to some of the best broadband speeds in the UK via iNorthumberland and the commercial roll-out of fibre by BT’s local network business, Openreach. Openreach’s network is open to all broadband service providers on an equal wholesale basis and so Northumberland households and businesses can benefit from highly competitive products and pricing.

Simon Roberson, BT’s North East regional partnership director, said: “Small enterprises like the Crescent Café are crucial to local economies and in this case in particular people travel from all over the region to sample their famous ice cream.

“Faster broadband enables businesses to offer services such as free Wi-Fi for customers to use while enjoying a coffee or a website which stands out from the crowd. There is so much that can be achieved with better, faster connectivity.”

For up to date information on available business support and the roll-out visit www.inorthumberlandbusiness.co.uk or www.inorthumberland.org.uk


1 These are the top wholesale speeds available from Openreach to all service providers; speeds offered by service providers may vary.

2 The iNorthumberland 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.communities.gov.uk/erdf