Weardale is moving into the fast lane thanks to Digital Durham

Superfast, fibre broadband has arrived in Weardale, Digital Durham announced today. More than 2,000 households and businesses are now able to connect to the new, high-speed technology as a result of the programme.

Weardale is moving into the fast lane thanks to Digital Durham

More than 2,000 homes and businesses can now access fibre broadband because of multi million pound partnership

Superfast, fibre broadband has arrived in Weardale, Digital Durham announced today. More than 2,000 households and businesses are now able to connect to the new, high-speed technology as a result of the programme.

Parts of Tow Law, Hamsterley and Wolsingham are the first locations to be reached by the new fibre network with a further 4,000 homes and businesses in Weardale due to be upgraded by the end of the programme.

Welcoming the news, Pat Glass, MP for North West Durham, said: “I am delighted the people of Weardale can now access superfast broadband. Without the Digital Durham program it would not be commercially viable for the installation of the hardware necessary to enable this broadband provision.

“Today is a landmark moment for Weardale. It is a real step forward for its businesses and families who will greatly enjoy the benefits of faster broadband.”

Engineers from Openreach, BT’s local network business, began upgrading the BT exchange in Frosterley last year and just one year on have installed around 60km of underground ducts carrying cables containing around 7,000km of fibres.

Work continues and in the coming months there will be further upgrades in Tow Low, Hamsterley and Wolsingham as well as the first superfast connections in Frosterley, Stanhope, Witton le Wear, Eastgate, Edmundbyers, Wearhead and other local communities.

To celebrate the arrival of superfast broadband in Weardale the Digital Durham team are holding two events with the first kicking off at Tow Law Community Centre today. This will be followed by an event at Wolsingham Methodist Church on Front Street on June 26 at 10am.
Councillor Jane Brown, Cabinet member for corporate services, Durham County Council, said: “This is great news for residents and businesses who can look forward to a raft of benefits that fibre broadband can bring.

“As a council we are committed to making sure rural areas like Weardale aren’t left behind when it comes to getting online so this latest stage of the rollout is really pleasing.

“We would encourage people in the area to come along to the public events and find out more about the programme and the many opportunities on offer.”

These events will give local people and businesses a chance to meet the team, ask questions about the roll-out and discover the benefits of faster broadband speeds. Similar events will be organised in other areas as the roll-out continues,

Speaking at the Digital Durham community event in Tow Law, Simon Roberson, BT’s regional partnership director for the North East, said: “Bringing fibre broadband to Weardale has not been easy. Rural geographies present engineers with many difficulties not faced in more urban areas. Long stretches of winding roads creates the need for traffic management, collapsed and blocked underground ducts are common meaning often engineers have to build new ducts rather than being able to use existing infrastructure. Reaching Weardale is a great achievement and is testament 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 thousands 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.”

More than 60,000 homes and businesses can now access fibre broadband across the Digital Durham programme area and thousands of them have already ordered fibre broadband and are now enjoying faster broadband speeds of up to 80Mbps .

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


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.