Broadband revolution in £24 million deal

Eight local authorities join forces to transform broadband speeds across County Durham, Gateshead, Sunderland and Tees Valley
A £24 million project to transform broadband speeds for businesses and residents across County Durham, Gateshead, Sunderland and Tees Valley was announced today.

Digital Durham, a partnership of eight local authorities including Durham County Council, has agreed a deal with BT to deliver high-speed fibre broadband to around 94 per cent of premises by the end of 2016 and aims to provide a minimum of 2Mbps broadband speeds for all.

Research suggests that within 15 years fibre broadband could bolster the economy of a typical town by £143 million and create 225 new jobs, 140 new start-up businesses and 1,000 more homeworkers1.

BT’s £5.9 million financial contribution will bolster the public sector investment, which includes £7.8 million from Durham County Council & Gateshead, £9.1 million Government funding from Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) and a £1.3 million contribution from public sector partners in Sunderland and Tees Valley.

High quality voice and video calls mean businesses can keep in touch with customers while cutting down on travel.

Bill Murphy, BT’s managing director of Next Generation Access, added: “This project is vital to the future economic strength of all the local authority areas involved in this project. It will go beyond BT’s commercial roll-out of fibre broadband and take faster broadband to areas which are technically and economically more challenging. Reliable access to broadband is an integral part of 21st Century living. It’s much more than streaming video and music or online shopping: it’s increasingly the way business is conducted and services are delivered. It will enable businesses to compete on a level footing regardless of location – making this large part of the North East a more attractive proposition for business re-locations and start-ups – including the creation of new, high-tech jobs.”

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David Dungay

Editor - Comms Business Magazine
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