Northamptonshire hits 10,000 rural properties connected to fibre, £5bn pledged for more

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The county of Northamptonshire in the UK has seen some 10,000 rural properties upgraded to ultrafast-fibre.

This is since phase three of the Superfast Northamptonshire project was launched in January 2017. The project was set up to support the achievement of the county council’s target to see superfast broadband available to more than 99 per cent of premises by March 2021. It also supports the council’s latest ambitions to see coverage levels of 75 per cent gigabit-capable, and 40 per cent full-fibre, available across by December 2023.

The multi-million pound project is funded by Northamptonshire County Council, the government’s Building Digital UK and supported by local partners.

The 10,000 properties milestone brings full-fibre coverage in the area to more than 11 per cent, from as low as 0.4 per cent in 2015. The project has been delivered by rural broadband specialist, Gigaclear.

The properties were situated in some of the most remote areas of rural Northamptonshire, suffering internet speeds as slow as 1Mb/s. They are now connected to Gigaclear’s ultrafast full-fibre-to-the-property network, allowing speeds of up to 1Gb/s.

Minister for Digital and Infrastructure, Matt Warman, said: ‘Thanks to our £1.7m investment thousands more rural homes and businesses in Northamptonshire can now access gigabit-speed broadband and today's milestone is worth celebrating. We know there is still more to be done so we've pledged £5 billion to deliver better broadband to people suffering with slow speeds in hard-to-reach areas across the UK.’

Catherine Warren, regional manager for the East Midlands at Gigaclear, added: ‘This is an enormous achievement. Connecting rural communities to ultrafast internet is an incredibly complex task and we’re proud to have hit this milestone. We lay our fibre cabling below ground for longevity and to decrease environmental impact and visual blight. In rural environments, that means working with heavy duty equipment on very small roads, negotiating wayleaves on private property, navigating river and rail crossings, and, of course, working to minimise visible indications of our presence in what are often very beautiful environments. Although Covid-19 has slowed us down, we are continuing to work to connect further properties in Northamptonshire where safe to do so, as our work is considered essential by government. This situation has highlighted just how vital ultrafast connectivity is to modern life.’

Northamptonshire County Councillor, and Cabinet member with responsibility for digital infrastructure, Jason Smithers, concluded: ‘I am delighted with the progress that Gigaclear has made connecting many of our rural communities with futureproof full-fibre broadband, as part of the Superfast Northamptonshire project. This infrastructure is proving more vital than ever as more people need to work, and undertake other activities, from home. It will also play a pivotal role in stimulating an economic recovery in the response to the Covid-19 pandemic.’

 

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