Residents and businesses in Alnmouth and Lesbury urged to pool Government-backed vouchers to secure ultrafast broadband
Openreach is asking the communities of Alnmouth and Lesbury to get behind a bid to bring ultrafast, ultra-reliable full fibre broadband to both rural Northumbrian villages.
The company is urging both communities - and particularly small businesses and sole traders - to consider pooling Gigabit broadband vouchers available from the UK Government to help build a new, gigabit-capable network, where fibre is run directly from the exchange all the way to each property.
Those who don’t already have access to a 100Mbps broadband service can check if they qualify and pledge their voucher on the Connect My Community website. Some premises, where speeds are less than 30 Mbps, may also be eligible for additional funding via the Digital Borderlands Voucher Scheme.
Utilising the vouchers enables Openreach to work with a local community to build a customised, co-funded network and bring full fibre broadband to areas not included in any existing private or publicly subsidised upgrade schemes.
By working with Openreach in this way more than 120,000 homes and businesses across the UK can already benefit from ultrafast, ultra-reliable broadband.
Robert Thorburn, Openreach’s partnership director for the North, said: “This is a really exciting opportunity for both Alnmouth and Lesbury to bring full fibre infrastructure to their community but while we’ve had a huge amount of interest in Alnmouth there’s been very little in Lesbury.
“For the upgrades to go ahead in Lesbury we need residents to pledge their vouchers, but we know there are also lots of small businesses and sole traders who haven’t yet pledged their vouchers and who would benefit hugely from this faster, future proof technology.
“Everyone who pledges a voucher will be doing their bit to help the villages become some of the of the best-connected places in Northumberland. Pledging couldn’t be simpler, but we need residents and businesses to act quickly – as the scheme closes in March 2021.”
Robert added: “Thousands of homes and businesses across Northumberland can already upgrade to the Openreach full fibre network and local people can use our online postcode checker to see what’s now available.
“We’re investing £12 billion to build full fibre broadband to 20 million homes – and more than three million of those will be in the toughest third of the UK – but we can’t upgrade the whole country alone. This latest support from government, alongside help to remove red tape and barriers that slow down the build, is vital.”
To claim vouchers which contribute towards the cost of building the new network, residents are asked to commit to ordering a full fibre service from a provider of their choice for at least 12 months once the new network is available.
Eligible residents qualify for up to £1,500 for rural homes and up to £3,500 for small and medium-sized businesses under the UK Government’s Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme.
Working with Northumberland County Council Openreach proactively identifies communities such as Mickley who might be able to benefit but also welcomes applications from individuals on behalf of their community.
UK Digital Infrastructure Minister Matt Warman said: “We're committed to levelling up communities across the UK with lightning-fast gigabit broadband that will improve lives and boost the economy.
"The broadband vouchers on offer provide immediate financial help for people to get next-generation speeds by helping to cover the installation costs of companies such as Openreach.
"I urge people to check online if they are eligible for a broadband boost."
Full fibre technology provides more reliable, resilient and future-proof connectivity; meaning fewer faults; more predictable, consistent speeds and enough capacity to easily meet growing data demands. It's also future-proof, which means it will serve generations to come and won’t need to be upgraded for decades.
Fibre optics - strands of glass around one-tenth the thickness of a human hair - transmit data using light signals. Fibre is smaller, lighter and more durable than copper cabling and less vulnerable to damage. This short video explains what full fibre technology is and there’s more info here.