£18m Broadband Boost for Tyne and Wear

More than 60,000 more homes and businesses in Tyne and Wear are set to benefit from a major broadband boost thanks to a £18m[1] investment by Openreach – the UK’s largest digital network provider, used by the likes of BT, Sky, TalkTalk, Vodafone and Zen.

When work is finished the majority of people living and working in Boldon, Jarrow, South Shields, Washington and Whitburn will be able to contact their broadband provider and upgrade to full fibre broadband.

This is a further boost for the North East where around 150,000 homes and businesses can now access full fibre on the Openreach network with tens of thousands more announced in future plans.

  Robert Thorburn, Openreach’s regional director for the North, said: “Nobody in the UK is building full fibre faster, further or at a higher quality than Openreach. We’re passing more than 50.000 new homes and businesses every week and installing around 800 metres of cable every minute, with our teams of highly-skilled engineers working alongside our build partners to deliver some of the fastest and most reliable broadband available anywhere in the world.

  “We’ve already reached more than 7 million homes and businesses across the UK with ultrafast full fibre technology including around 150,000 in the North East but we know there’s more to do and we’re committed to doing it.”

Full fibre broadband is up to ten times faster than the average home broadband connection and around five times more reliable than the traditional copper-based network, providing more predictable, consistent speeds.  

Across the North East around 42,000 homes and businesses have already ordered a full fibre service from a range of retail service providers using the Openreach network. But this means another 108,000 could be benefiting from faster, more reliable broadband connections but have yet to upgrade.

Recent research by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) highlighted the clear economic benefits of connecting everyone in the North East to full fibre. It estimated this would create a £1.7 billion boost to the local economy.

Openreach engineers have been working hard to make the technology available to as many people as possible throughout the UK and the company’s plans are fundamental to the UK Government achieving its target of delivering ‘gigabit capable’ broadband to 85 per cent of UK by 2025. The company will invest billions of pounds to reach a total of 25 million premises by the end of December 2026, including more than six million in the hardest-to-serve parts of the country defined by industry regulator Ofcom.

Openreach employs more than 1,100 people across the North East and in February announced plans to recruit a create and fill a further 170 jobs – including around 70 apprenticeships.

You can find out more about our Fibre First programme, latest availability and local plans here.





[1] Investment figure based on an average build cost of £300 per premises