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RCBF Supported Superfast Broadband Rollout in Rothbury Completed

Thursday, December 4th, 2014 (1:48 pm) - Score 1,207

The Northumberland (England) based market-town of Rothbury, including several surrounding communities, can now access faster “fibre broadband” (FTTC/P) services after a scheme funded by the Rural Community Broadband Fund (RCBF) and BT finally completed its planned deployment in the area.

Some might recall that the project, which aimed to help around 1,500 local homes and businesses in Rothbury, was last year allocated £460,000 from the RCBF to help BT roll-out its superfast broadband (FTTC/P) network to cover 98% of local premises by the end of 2014 (here). Indeed it was one of the very first to benefit from the often controversial RCBF scheme.

According to today’s official PR blurb, Rothbury’s upgrade has been completed “on budget and ahead of schedule“. The first street cabinet, situated on Station Road, officially ‘went live’ in December last year and since then more than 1,665 premises have been given access to order the new network.

Apparently Rothbury is also the “first community in the region” to benefit from BT’s Fibre-to-the-Premise (FTTP) technology that offers speeds of 330Mbps by taking pure fibre optic lines all the way to local properties. Readers might recall that we revealed a little more about this side of things earlier in the year (here).

Steven Bridgett, County Councillor for Coquetdale, said:

Rothbury really has been a huge success story for superfast broadband and that is in no small part down to the huge role residents played in helping to draw down the funds, ensuring that plans became a reality. Take-up since its installation has been much higher than predicated and we are now working with our partners to draw down the claw back funds early and reinvest those funds to bring faster broadband into even more remote areas within our area. This will be a continual process for us and we have no intention in stopping yet.”

Bill Murphy, BT’s MD of NGA, said:

Rothbury is a remote town in the most sparsely populated county in England with diverse and challenging geography – which makes today’s announcement all the more significant. It may be remote but having access to fibre broadband means it is no longer isolated – with superfast broadband delivering the digital world to its doorstep.

Households and businesses can now exploit superfast broadband to its full potential – on a par with any major town or city – supporting economic growth and strengthening community connectivity for social benefit.”

Overall more than 40km of new fibre optic cable has been put in place using some existing, and some newly built, underground ducts. In addition, around ten major blockages in the ducts had to be cleared, with giant vacuums brought in several times to clear silt and debris washed into the ducts by rainwater. On top of that 6 new street cabinets have been put in place and 44 new telegraph poles have also been erected.

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Mark Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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