Broadband Boost for Northumberland

Around 1,500 more homes and businesses in Northumberland are a step closer to a major broadband boost thanks to a £500,000[1] investment by Openreach – the UK’s largest digital network provider, used by more than 660 service providers including the likes of BT, Sky, TalkTalk, Vodafone and Zen.

People living and working in Stannington and Riding Mill are due to be upgraded following the company’s latest build announcement, with a new, ultrafast, ultra-reliable ‘full fibre’ broadband network being built to the majority of premises in the two villages.

The local news comes as the digital network provider announces it has reached more than 6 million homes and businesses across the UK with Ultrafast Full Fibre, with more than 120,000 of them in the North East.

The plans are a further boost for Northumberland as they follow news earlier this year that around 65,000 homes and businesses in the county would be getting access to Openreach’s new network, the majority in rural and harder to serve areas. That announcement outlined plans to build the network in and around communities such as Alnmouth, Amble, Bellingham, Berwick, Corbridge, Haltwhistle, Haydon Bridge, Otterburn, Rothbury, Seahouses, Stocksfield, Ulgham and Wylam.

In addition to Openreach’s main commercial activity the company is also building Full Fibre to much smaller communities across Northumberland as part of their Community Fibre Partnership (CFP) programme - a scheme designed to help people living and working in rural communities that are not included in any current full fibre roll-out plans. Northumberland communities within this programme include Bamburgh and parts of Alnwick, Felton, Longhoughton, East Heddon, Embleton, Great Whittington, Morpeth and Stamfordham.

Robert Thorburn, Openreach’s regional director for the North, said: “Good connectivity is vital – whether it’s to work from home, access education and care services, or for gaming and streaming entertainment – and that’s why we’re investing billions across the UK to upgrade our network to 25 million premises.

“Nobody’s building faster, further or to a higher standard than Openreach, and we’ve already reached six million homes and businesses with ultrafast full fibre technology, including more than 120,000 in the North East. It’s proving popular as well, with tens of thousands already choosing to start using it.

Our engineers and build partners are reaching more communities every week and we’re not just building in cities and urban areas. Many rural and hard to reach communities in Northumberland are already benefitting and we plan to reach tens of thousands more in the coming months and years.”

Across the UK, 1.3 million homes and businesses have already ordered a full fibre service from a range of retail service providers using the Openreach network. But this means 4.7 million more are yet to start benefiting from some of the fastest, most reliable broadband connections in the world and have yet to upgrade.

Recent research by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) highlighted the clear economic benefits of connecting everyone in 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 work will continue between now and 2026, with the full list of locations and timescales being updated regularly on the Openreach website. 

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 plans 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 region, and 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 £350 per premises