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Northumberland community urged to invest in fibre broadband scheme

Monday, June 15th 2015 by Phil Wilkinson-Jones

A community broadband project in Northumberland needs £150,000 to connect local residents to its fibre network.

Cybermoor Networks has started laying fibre optic cables alongside part of an old railway track between Alston and Haltwhistle in the South Tyne Valley.

It has also launched a ‘community share offer’, which allows individuals and businesses to invest in the scheme and benefit from the higher broadband speeds it will bring.

Cable.co.uk reported last year that Cybermoor is one of eight companies awarded funding by the government’s £10m innovation fund.

The fund was set up to encourage alternative ways of delivering superfast broadband to the final 5% of the UK not covered by the Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) scheme or commercial rollouts.

A government spokesperson told Cable.co.uk the “social investment model” piloted by Cybermoor had the potential to reduce the amount of taxpayers’ cash needed to roll out broadband in rural areas.

Daniel Heery, Cybermoor’s project manager, said: “This is a great opportunity for people to invest in infrastructure that will bring benefits to the whole community.

'Leading the way'

“A fibre optic cable network along the valley will provide faster more reliable connections, helping local people get more from the internet.”

Residents of the South Tyne Valley have until 31 July to invest a minimum of £100 in the scheme, which will use wireless access to connect the area’s more remote properties.

Digital Minister Ed Vaizey said: “It’s great to see Cybermoor leading the way in rolling out superfast speeds to some of the UK’s most remote communities.

“The Community Share Offer will play an important role supporting the government’s programme to extend superfast broadband to more homes and businesses, bringing forward new investment to support the development of this vital digital infrastructure in South Tyne Valley.

“This community pledge scheme shows that communities can build their own fibre broadband networks using local people and finance.”

Cybermoor Networks is a co-operative with its directors directly elected by its members. Each member has one vote, regardless of the size of their investment.

It has already completed a fibre optic network to serve the centre of Alston and a link to Nenthead.

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