MP Helen Goodman officially unveils Teesdale’s Christmas cabinet
Christmas has come early for people living and working in Romaldkirk as superfast, fibre broadband has arrived in the village, thanks to Digital Durham.
Helen Goodman, MP for Bishop Auckland, joined members of the Digital Durham team and BT, to officially ‘switch on’ the new fibre cabinet, which is bringing faster broadband to more than 100 homes and businesses.
Across Teesdale high-speed, fibre broadband is now available to more than 5,000 households and businesses in locations such as Cockfield, Middleton in Teesdale, Copley, Staindrop,Cotherstone, Bowes, West Auckland, Barnard Castle and Barningham.
A further 1,070 households and businesses are set to benefit by the end of the first phase of the roll-out which will be completed in June next year.The second phase of the Digital Durham roll-out, currently in planning, will include more good news for Teesdale with further communities getting access to fibre broadband.
Helen Goodman said: “Having campaigned to improve access to broadband in rural areas I’m delighted to welcome the arrival of superfast broadband in Romaldkirk and the wider investment across Teesdale.
“It is increasingly vital that our rural businesses, residents and tourists benefit from access to superfast speeds and I look forward to further good news for the area.”
Cllr Jane Brown, Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for corporate services, added: “This is excellent news, just in time for Christmas, for residents and businesses in Romaldkirk who will now be able to take advantage of the many benefits of fibre broadband.
“It is especially important for people in rural areas of the county like this to have fast and easy access to online resources, such as jobs and educational tools, and for local companies to be able to compete on a level playing field.”
More than 90,000 households and businesses are now able to connect to faster, fibre broadband thanks to the Digital Durham programme. On average, engineers from Openreach, BT’s local network business, are switching on 22 new street cabinets and making the new fibre network available to around 4,700 more premises every month.
Simon Roberson, BT regional partnership director for the North East, said: “Our lives are more connected than ever before. More and more appliances and gadgets – phones, broadband enabled TVs, tablets, games consoles, many of which will be bought as presents this Christmas – work best with a high-speed internet connection. Sharing photos with friends, streaming HD movies and video calls with family and friends can be carried out more quickly and effectively with this exciting technology so now is the ideal time to make the switch to superfast broadband.”
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.
It’s an ‘opt in’ service, but because the Openreach network is ‘open’, residents and businesses wanting to upgrade have a choice of fibre broadband providers, with more than 140 companies now operating across the UK.
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.
A second phase of fibre deployment is already planned to begin in July 2016. This will see a further £9 million invested in the programme area. It includes £2.82 million from the Government’s Superfast Extension Plan and £4 million from BT, with the remaining investment split between the local authority partners. An additional 29,000 homes and businesses will benefit as a result. 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
About Superfast Britain
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:
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.