Northumberland’s rural communities secure funding boost for digital infrastructure

July 25 2019 @ 13:01 by Richard Dawson

Northumberland County Council has received a £12 million funding boost to invest in digital connectivity for rural communities across the county.

The funding comes after the North of Tyne Combined Authority made a bid to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport earlier this year for investment from its Local Full Fibre Networks Programme.

The goal of the funding is to construct the infrastructure needed to bring fibre internet connections to public buildings across Northumberland, improving both the speed and reliability of digital connectivity at these sites.

Leader of Northumberland County Council, Peter Jackson, said: “This is fantastic news for the county, providing rural Northumberland with better connectivity than many city centres.

“Both here in Northumberland and across the Combined Authority we recognise that having widely available, high-speed, affordable and reliable connectivity to businesses and residents is crucial in maintaining our economic competitiveness and achieving social inclusion.

“This upgrade to our infrastructure in the county is a building block for higher broadband speeds to many other communities across our county and doing this will have a much-wider long-term impact.”

The £12 million funding will allow the delivery of gigabit capable full fibre connectivity to 313 public sector sites through the Northumberland Gigabit Project.

Not only does this provide excellent connectivity to public buildings, but it is also hoped that the surrounding areas will become more viable for internet companies to build their networks in the area.

Cllr Jackson added: “While we’re working hard to connect every home and business in Northumberland this is a great step towards that vision and the benefits will be felt by everyone who uses our services – whether that’s libraries, schools or customer information centres.

“Here in the county we pride ourselves on punching well above our weight in terms of embracing new technology and this is a real boost which will provide day to day benefits to thousands.”

The project aims to be completed by early 2021.

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