The iNorthumberland project in England, which last June 2016 hit the 90% coverage target for “superfast broadband” (24Mbps+) or 95% if you include the sub-24Mbps “fibre” footprint (here), has now begun to expand under the £4.1m Phase 2 extension deal that will reach 3,700 extra premises.
So far the existing project has already expanded coverage to a total of 146,000 premises in the county (inc. BT’s commercial roll-out), which includes 1500km of fibre laid, 78 live exchange areas and 546 street cabinets. On top of that some 100 homes and businesses in the village of Matfen have this week become the first to benefit from the new roll-out, with Melkridge, Colwell, Langley, Warden, Oakwood, Dilston and Whitley Chapel set to follow in the “coming months” (more details in last year’s update).
The new Superfast Extension Programme (SEP) contract was signed with Openreach (BT) sometime ago and should help to bring FTTC/P based superfast broadband to 95% of the county by the end of 2017. A future Phase 3 expansion is also being considered, which is likely to involve public money that has been returned (clawback) through BT following strong customer take-up in related areas (take-up is currently 36% and that’s well above the 20% level for clawback to start).
Dave Ledger, Deputy Leader of Northumberland County Council, said:
“It’s great to see the second phase of this ambitious and high performing programme well underway. How fantastic to celebrate the delivery of high speed broadband to small settlements like Matfen – ensuring that residents, businesses and community organisations there can reap the same communications benefits as large towns.
In celebrating the delivery of superfast broadband to Matfen, we must also thank local county councillor Veronica Jones.Veronica has worked tirelessly to help to make a case for this high level of service and reaching this stage is in no small part down to her.”