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Durham UK Completes £34m Fibre Broadband Roll-out Contract with BT

Thursday, July 14th, 2016 (1:35 pm) - Score 721
openreach bt engineer at a street cabinet fttc

The £34m Digital Durham project in North East England, which includes Gateshead, the Tees Valley and Sunderland, claims to have completed its original goal of ensuring that 98% of local premises are covered by a “fibre broadband” network (96% able to receive “superfast” speeds of 24Mbps+).

The first contract with BT (Openreach), which has been busy extending the availability of their FTTC/P network in the county, was originally due to complete by September 2016 and so today’s news suggests that it has achieve this target ahead of schedule.

As a result of the effort an additional 107,000 premises (local homes and businesses) have so far benefited from the project and can now order the new service. Some 498 new Street Cabinets have also been built, all of which are connected via hundreds of kilometres of new underground fibre optic cable that links back to various local exchanges.

Simon Roberson, BT’s Regional Director for the North East, said:

“Delivering a programme of this size has not been easy, and in particular reaching some extremely remote parts of County Durham is a great achievement and is testament to the dedication of around 100 Openreach planners and engineers who have been keeping busy, clocking up thousands of man hours to plan and carry out this mammoth feat of civil engineering.

Since the first green fibre street cabinet went live, hundreds of kilometres of underground fibre optic cable has been laid and 498 new street cabinets installed in what is one of the region’s largest civil engineering projects in recent years.

However, there is still more to do and, as well as continuing the roll-out, we are also looking at ways to make existing fibre services go faster and reach further. We want to keep that momentum going so communities the length and breadth of the programme area get the maximum possible benefit.”

As usual the work doesn’t stop and a second Superfast Extension Programme (SEP) contract already exists (here), which is just starting its deployment. The new contract is worth £9m (£2.82m from Broadband Delivery UK and £4m from BT, with the rest coming from local councils) and aims to reach an additional 29,000 premises or 97% coverage of superfast broadband by December 2018.

The new contract also includes North and South Tyneside. Some of the first locations expected to benefit from this new phase include Middleton-in-Teesdale, Low Fell, Stanley, North Shields, South Shields, Wideopen, Lanchester, Benton, Stillington, Wellfield and Boldon.

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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 Lee

    I don’t believe Benton exchange is getting any new cabinets from this phase. Wallsend and Whitley Bay exchanges however are getting a huge number of new cabinets from it.

  2. Avatar Jamie

    Whitburn NEWN exchange keeps getting the fibre roll out date pushed back! Quite disappointing really as we were told that the cabinet will be enabled for fibre in Spring 2015, then 2016 and now the end of 2016/early 2017.

  3. How good for those 96% But we still have less than 1mbps in High Hesleden and most of the time there is no internet connection. Why are we being ignored.

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