Newcastle joins superfast broadband leagues


Newcastle’s first superfast fibre broadband cabinet has gone live, bringing speeds of up to 80Mbps to 1,400 homes and businesses in the area.

The switch-on marks a major milestone in the Go Digital Newcastle programme, which intends to bring superfast services to at least 97 percent of the region by summer 2015.

The broadband rollout project was first announced last year and has funding of £3.8m, with BT stumping up £1.89m, and £970,000 coming from the government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) framework and the same amount from the city council.

The first cabinet was switched on by local school children from the Walker Technology College, with those living in the Walker, Byker, Cochrane Park, Manor Park, Elswick, South Benwell and Fenham areas able to access the new services.

Communications minister Ed Vaizey, said the switch-on was a major step forward for Newcastle and the surrounding area.

“We understand how important access to superfast broadband is – the UK already does more business online than any other European country, and the widespread access to superfast broadband that this scheme will deliver will provide a tremendous boost to the Newcastle economy.”

Other areas in the region being worked on include central Newcastle, West Newcastle, Gosforth, Jesmond, Lemington and Wideopen.

As part of the Go Digital Newcastle initiative, small and medium businesses in the city as well as charities and social enterprises can apply for a voucher worth up to £3,000 to help get better broadband services.

The announcement comes amid major issues for BT after customers across the UK complained that its network was playing up over the weekend. The firm said sorry for the problems, but did not elaborate on the nature of the issues.

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