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BT to connect 97 per cent of Newcastle to superfast fibre broadband

BT has been awarded a contract which will see superfast fibre-based broadband hitting 97 per cent of Newcastle upon Tyne premises. 

By Summer 2015, the majority of homes and businesses across the city will be able to access either FTTC (Fibre to the Cabinet) or FTTP (Fibre to the Premises) providing download speeds of up to 80Mbps and 330Mbps respectively. 

The local Go Digital plan will build on BT’s own £2.5 billion investment. This has already seen fibre-based broadband rolled out to families and firms in West Newcastle, Gosforth, Jesmond, Lemington and Wideopen. By the time the commercial rollout finishes in Spring 2014, more locations in Denton Burn and Kenton will have been connected. 

BT to connect 97 per cent of Newcastle to superfast fibre broadband

Read our guide to BT Broadband Rollout UpdatesIt’s not yet known exactly how many properties will be connected under the scheme, but the Go Digital website has an interactive map showing us where the superfast not spots currently are and where the fibre is likely to land. Residents in slower areas have been able to pin blue flags to the map to register their interest in getting superfast first. 

Councillor Nick Forbes, leader of Newcastle City Council hopes to turn Newcastle into one of the best-connected cities in Europe and make it a hotbed of innovation: “High speed reliable broadband access is an essential modern day business tool, and we are determined that we will have the best connectivity of any European city to make Newcastle a natural home for businesses to grow in the future. 

“Given that the internet is integral to how we live our lives now, from shopping online to playing games to watching films, ensuring all homes have fibre broadband access will put Newcastle at the forefront of ensuring that residents are fully connected. 

Sarat Pediredla, managing director of app development company Hedgehog Lab shares Forbes’ enthusiasm: “Newcastle is a great location to set up business. It has a vibrant technology community, access to skilled labour and business costs that are significantly lower than other major cities. Adding fibre to that list enables us and other business to compete further afield.  Although around 90 per cent of our customer base is in London fibre we can give them a top quality, speedy service from our North East base.” 

The Go Digital project will cost £3.8 million. Newcastle City Council is spending £970,000 on the deal which will be matched with funds from the central government’s BDUK (Broadband Delivery for the UK) pot. BT is contributing the remaining £1.89 million. 

Newcastle is also one of the government’s Super Connected Cities. Once a trial phase in Belfast, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Manchester and Salford concludes, local businesses will be able to apply for vouchers covering the costs of high speed broadband installation.

Image: Pot Noodle/Flickr

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