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Remote section of Hadrian's Wall gets fibre broadband

Monday, January 25th 2016 by Phil Wilkinson-Jones

Superfast broadband has arrived at one of the most remote sections of Hadrian’s Wall.

16 premises on a distant stretch of the Military Road at Once Brewed can now get fibre to the premises broadband thanks to the iNorthumberland programme.

One of those premises is currently little more than a building site, but in 2017 will become The Sill: National Landscape Discovery Centre, a major education centre and visitor attraction.

The centre is predicted to deliver substantial economic benefits with around £5m of extra visitor spending in the region every year.

Stuart Evans, Northumberland National Park project director for The Sill, said: “The Sill’s main purpose is to open up Northumberland National Park and the surrounding areas to more people, helping them learn about and explore one of Britain’s finest landscapes.”

He said superfast broadband is “crucial” for the building to provide facilities including meeting rooms, YHA hostel accommodation, an interactive exhibition space, education and training rooms, a shop and café.

“Visitors will be able to use our wi-fi to interact with exhibits, post photos and share videos on social networking sites in seconds.

“Universities, colleges and schools will be able to offer high quality study trips from the heart of the national park knowing they will have fast access to online and in-Cloud educational materials.

“The operational and business benefits that fibre broadband will bring are also considerable. Superfast will make our online booking systems, card payment and electronic point of sale equipment faster and more efficient for customers.”

Councillor Dave Ledger, deputy leader of Northumberland County Council, said: “The tourism industry is extremely important to Northumberland, particularly in areas like this right next to the Hadrian’s Wall World Heritage Site.

“The Sill is a key tourism development for Northumberland – bringing visitor, education and business services to this rural part of the county, and the council is a strong supporter of the project.

'Massive feat'

“It’s very pleasing that the iNorthumberland project has been able to bring superfast broadband to support the facilities and services to be provided here, as well as to homes and other businesses in the area.”

Simon Roberson, BT’s regional partnership director for the North East, said getting fibre to such a remote area had been “no easy task” and praised the engineers who had laid hundreds of kilometres of fibre cables underground.

“Hadrian’s Wall, a massive feat of Roman engineering and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, now stands side by side with superfast broadband, one of the biggest feats of civil engineering to be undertaken in Northumberland for many years.”

More than 145,000 households and businesses in Northumberland are now able to connect to fibre broadband as a result of the iNorthumberland programme and BT’s commercial rollout.

In West Northumberland around 30,000 households and businesses can now access the new technology in areas including parts of Hexham, Haydon Bridge, Haltwhistle, Blanchland, Falstone, Bellingham, Newbrough, Humshaugh, Greenhaugh, Wylam, Stocksfield and Riding Mill.

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