£6.6m fibre network build begins in rural Teesdale
Scottish independent provider, Borderlink, trading as GoFibre has begun construction of a new full fibre broadband network in Teesdale to connect more than 4,000 hard-to-reach homes and businesses as part of the UK government’s Project Gigabit scheme.
The company was awarded the £6.6m contract last Autumn and has spent the last six months planning and surveying for the build alongside the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT) and Durham County Council. Construction will take place until 2025 with homes and businesses across Middleton-in-Teesdale, Barnard Castle, Gainford, West Auckland and neighbouring communities able to access gigabit-capable broadband from as early as late September.
It is hoped that the implementation of GoFibre's network in rural Teesdale will help to tackle the digital divide across northern England. With the new network in place, local residents will have access to up to 10Gb/s speeds.
Neil Conaghan, Chief Executive Officer at GoFibre, says: “For years, rural towns across northern England, including Teesdale, have faced a persistent digital connectivity problem, which has left local communities frustrated and very much behind in terms of infrastructure upgrades. Through our partnership with the UK government and Durham County Council, construction efforts are now underway to help tackle this digital divide and isolation head on. Our new network will equip residents and businesses in these areas with the tools required to drive innovation and success, both now and in decades to come.”
Adds Digital Infrastructure Minister Julia Lopez: "Having access to the fastest broadband is vital for communities everywhere in the UK, and for too long homes and businesses in the countryside have been missing out. Teesdale was one of the first contracts awarded as part of Project Gigabit, our £5 billion plan to connect hard-to-reach areas and deliver on the Prime Minister's priority to grow the economy. Now spades are in the ground, thousands in the region are a big step closer to feeling the benefits of lightning-fast broadband."
Says Cllr Susan McDonnell, Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for digital, customer services and procurement: “We are really pleased to see construction of the new network get underway. It is a fantastic step forward that is going to make a significant difference to thousands of our residents and businesses in rural areas and will complement several other programmes aimed at improving connectivity across Teesdale and the wider County Durham. Not only will it allow for the creation of more opportunities for employment and education, particularly around studying or working from home, it will also help our communities to connect with each other and develop further social opportunities. We recognise these benefits and that is why we have made reliable broadband a key part of our ambitious plans for economic growth across the county. We look forward to our communities enjoying these benefits when construction is complete.”
GoFibre is also working with DSIT and Northumberland County Council to get construction underway in North Northumberland following a second contract award win for the Scottish independent broadband provider last year.