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First Phase 2 “Fibre Broadband” Roll-out Areas for Northumberland Named

Monday, June 6th, 2016 (9:20 am) - Score 1,025
engineer openreach working on fttc street cabinet

It’s been a year since BT and the Northumberland County Council signed a £4.1m deal (phase 2 extension contract) to further expand the reach of their “superfast broadband” (24Mbps+) FTTC/P network to 95% of local premises by the end of 2017. Today we’ve learnt which areas will be the first to benefit.

Not all of the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK projects are keeping to schedule and sadly Northumberland in England is one of those that slipped, albeit not dramatically so. The original contract promised to ensure that “fibre broadband” services could reach 95% of local premises by December 2015, although this figure drops to 91% for “superfast” (24Mbps+) coverage.

Put another way, the first phase of the iNorthumberland programme expected to help make 24Mbps+ capable networks available to an additional 43,000 homes and businesses, while a further 13,000 properties were set to be put within reach of a sub-24Mbps capable “fibre” service. But as it stands Northumberland are only just now coming to the end of the original contract.

The good news is that the local MP for Tynedale and Ponteland, Guy Opperman, has today given the first confirmation of which initial telephone exchange areas (this is not a complete list) will benefit from the new Phase 2 Superfast Extension Programme (SEP) contract; this will expand coverage to another 3,000 premises. Mind you it was originally supposed to begin in January 2016.

Guy Opperman said:

“It is great to see some of this progress here in Northumberland, and moving forward I hope to be able to provide even more encouraging updates on the areas connected. I am acutely conscious that isolated farms, hamlets and smaller communities are still struggling in certain places. If you are one of those then please get in contact and I will see what I can do.

There will be a phase 3 and the technology is improving all the time. But the cost of provision to truly outlying areas is also very significant, and there is not an unlimited taxpayers sum of money to pay for this upgrade to technology. The present limit is effectively £1700 per household of taxpayer subsidy but this is being reviewed.”

Phase 2 Upgrade Areas
Allendale (Catton Beacon)
Bardon Mill (next to the exchange, Westend Town, and Ridley)
Corbridge (Dilston)
Haydon Bridge (Langley)
Humshaugh (Gunnerton, Wall, and Colwell)
Haltwhistle (Melkridge)
Hexham (Warden, Bridge End, Oakwood, Sandhoe, and Acomb School)
Newbrough (Allerwash Hall)
Ponteland (600 metres south of the exchange, Medburn, South Medburn, Prestwick Park Business Centre, and Horton Grange)
Slaley (Nr Slaley Hall / Park, Ordley, Wooley, and Whitley Chapel)
Stamfordham (Matfen, and Hawkwell)
Stocksfield (New Ridley, and Hedley on the Hill)
West Allendale (Carrshield)
West Woodburn (Nr the exchange, East Woodburn)
Wylam (Heddon-on-the-Wall, Horsley, North Dunslaw Holm).

NOTE: The location is the exchange, and then the bracketed location is the site of the improved / extended coverage.

The future Phase 3 deployment is likely to involve public money that has been returned (clawback) from BT due to strong take-up, which can then be reinvested into a small additional expansion of coverage beyond the current 95% goal for “superfast” capable networks. Northumberland has yet to confirm their level of clawback and any other savings from the phase 1 contract.

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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.
Leave a Comment
3 Responses
  1. Avatar MikeW

    I wondered why an MP was making this sort of announcement.

    Good grief – that guy has a *huge* constituency. From the edge of Newcastle, most of the way across the country to Carlisle, and up to the Scottish border. It is maybe half of the area of the iNorthumberland project … the other half mostly belonging to the Berwick constituency.

    No wonder he’s interested in the project…

  2. Avatar Paper Boy

    and looking at the list of places mentioned they’re all within his constituency. So sod all for North Northumberland.

    • Avatar Steve Jones

      Have you considered that he might only be announcing the upgrades in his constituency and it might be considered to be presumptive to do that for other constituencies in the region?

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