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Impact of fibre broadband in County Durham 'extremely encouraging'

Tuesday, September 29th 2015 by Phil Wilkinson-Jones

The rollout of superfast fibre broadband has reached Stanhope in County Durham.

More than 950 homes and businesses in the town can now access faster broadband speeds.

Digital Durham, the organisation responsible for the fibre rollout in the county, said 73,000 premises have been reached across its programme area.

Members of the Digital Durham team held an information event at Stanhope Community Centre last Friday (25 September) to answer residents’ questions and explain the benefits fibre broadband can bring.

Councillor Jane Brown, Durham County Council’s cabinet member for corporate services, said: “We are delighted that so many residents and businesses in Stanhope are able to access fibre broadband and all of the positive opportunities that it brings.

“It is extremely encouraging to see the positive impact that faster broadband speeds are having as part of the rollout across the county and we look forward to yet more homes and businesses being able to access this fantastic service.”

Elsewhere in Weardale, around 4,300 households and businesses in Frosterley, Wolsingham, Witton-Le-Wear and Tow Law can access the new fibre network.

It has recently become available to more than 260 premises in the nearby village of Hamsterley.

Take-up of the new service has been particularly high in Angate Street, Wolsingham, with more than a third of residents signing up to fibre broadband.

Simon Roberson, BT’s regional partnership director for the north east, said: “Getting fibre to rural locations is no easy task, but it’s a very important one.

'Growing demand'

“The high number of people choosing to try out the new technology in locations like Angate Street clearly demonstrates the growing demand for high speed broadband as more people discover the real benefits for living in today’s digital world.

“Superfast broadband is not just of value to businesses, it also offers many benefits for families such as 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 can also improve access to new job opportunities, and make it easier to shop around for cheaper services.”

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, £34m 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 rollout, 97% of premises within the programme area will have access to fibre broadband.

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