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BT to bring superfast fibre broadband to Digital Durham – UPDATED

BT has been handed the keys to the Digital Durham superfast fibre broadband project. 

The project will bring superfast broadband speeds to 94 per cent of the homes and business across Durham by the end of 2016, with the remaining 6 per cent getting speeds of at least 2Mbps.

Most places in the superfast 94 per cent will benefit from BT FTTC (Fibre to the Cabinet) connections which can provide download speeds of up to 80Mbps. A handful of lucky others will get faster, future-proofed FTTP (Fibre to the Premises) lines installed, which provide speeds of up to 330Mbps.

BT to bring superfast fibre broadband to Digital Durham - UPDATED
One day, all this will be connected to superfast fibre broadband

Those in the 6 per cent who’ll be getting a much slower 2Mbps line can take some salvation in the news that Digital Durham plans to have all premises covered by superfast by the end of 2017. People who currently aren’t getting 2Mbps but are in the 6 per cent regions can expect to see this service delivered via bonded DSL lines or satellite broadband.

Eventually, everyone who gets an FTTC connection will be able to upgrade to the faster FTTP product by switching out the copper last mile for a fibre connection. At the moment, Openreach prices are looking to be a little dear, but at the end of the day it’s all about how ISPs choose to pass on costs to customers.

Families and companies across County Durham, Gateshead, Sunderland and Tees Valley will benefit from the £24 million project.

As well as the urban and suburban areas, some of which are already covered, or down to be covered by BT’s own £2.5 billion investment, the Digital Durham plan will take superfast speeds into other areas. Bill Murphy, BT’s managing director of Next Generation Access said:

“It will go beyond BT’s commercial roll-out of fibre broadband and take faster broadband to areas which are technically and economically more challenging… It will enable businesses to compete on a level footing regardless of location – making this large part of the North East a more attractive proposition for business re-locations and start-ups – including the creation of new, high-tech jobs.”

Don McLure, Durham County Council’s corporate director of resources, added: “Fibre and improved broadband will help us to strengthen our economy, grow and develop our businesses while enhancing community activities. This is an important milestone for all who live and work in this area.”

At the time of writing, no start date for the project was available but we’ll update once we know more. 

Image credit: Flickr user Glen Bowman

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