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'All-in-one' cabinet taking fibre broadband to County Durham village

Monday, February 29th 2016 by Ellen Branagh

A picturesque village in County Durham has become the latest place to use a pioneering ‘all-in-one’ fibre cabinet to roll out faster broadband.

Around 180 homes and businesses in Shincliffe will be able to access fibre broadband after the cabinet was switched on.

Thousands of homes and businesses in the nearby communities of High Shincliffe, Bowburn and Coxhoe also now have access to fibre, with further upgrades planned in the coming months.

‘All-in-one’ cabinets combine all the technology usually in two separate cabinets – the existing roadside cabinet that supplies telephone services and a new one for the fibre technology – in one place.

They mean the amount of street furniture is reduced, which is ideal in areas of natural beauty where conservation restrictions and technical difficulties often make it difficult to roll out faster broadband.

The cabinets, dubbed ‘onesies’ have been used in other places across the UK, including Nottinghamshire and Essex.

Councillor Jane Brown, Durham County Council’s cabinet member for corporate services, said: “This is fantastic news for residents and business owners in Shincliffe village who will now be able to take advantage of faster internet speeds and all the benefits this brings both at home and in the workplace.

“It is also pleasing to see that the village is benefitting from a relatively new technology specifically developed to bring faster broadband to locations where the standard rollout methods are not suitable.

“We look forward to seeing this technology used in other areas where possible.”

Daniel Roe, who runs his company Concision.co.uk, writing and editing web content, sales materials and articles for businesses, from his home in the village said knowing that fibre was coming to Shincliffe was a significant factor in deciding to move to the area.

'No mean feat'

Mr Roe, who launched the family run start-up in June last year, said it would make a huge difference to the business, from using VoIP services like Skype to communicate with clients across the world, to getting access to online material.

“It will make us a lot more flexible and agile and able to respond a lot quicker, which means quicker turnarounds on projects which in turn means more satisfied clients and ultimately more business.”

The Digital Durham programme, delivered by Durham County Council and BT, aims to give access to fibre broadband to 97% of premises in its area.

More than 97,000 homes and businesses are able to connect to fibre broadband so far as part of the programme, and a second phase, planned to start in July, will benefit an extra 29,000 premises.

On average, engineers from Openreach 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: “Rolling out fibre broadband on this scale is no mean feat.

“Sometimes we have to do things differently in order to overcome technical issues or challenging geographies. This was one of those times.

“When our primary rollout technology proved unsuitable in this part of Shincliffe village, we had to identify a different solution.

“The ‘onesie’ was the perfect solution and people are already embracing the new technology.”

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