The multi million pound iNorthumberland project will be taking its ‘superfast broadband’ message to fairs, events and shows the length and breadth of the county this summer.

First stop is the County Show in Bywell on May 29, which will be followed by more than 15 visits to some of Northumberland’s best loved events, including Taste Tynedale, Whittingham Show, Glendale Show and Alnwick Food Festival. A full list of locations is below.

The iNorthumberland team of digital engagement manager John Cooper, business and community engagement officer Sylvia Pringle, project support officer Nathan Fuller and apprentice Shannon Johnson will be manning a ‘superfast stall’ and ready to demonstrate the benefits of superfast broadband and answer any questions local people may have about the roll-out.

John Cooper said: “Since last summer, the roll-out of superfast broadband has continued across the County reaching some of our most remote communities including Craster, Matfen, Slaley and Netherton. Getting this technology in the ground is vital, but the maximum benefit for the county as a whole can only be felt if local people and businesses know that the technology is available, understand what it can do for them and start to make use of it.

“At the moment four out of every ten households and businesses who can order fibre broadband in Northumberland have done so. This figure is fantastic, and much higher than the national average, but we don’t want it to stop there. Every day I hear from people and businesses who have got tangible benefits from upgrading and a big part of our job is helping those who haven’t yet upgraded understand what faster broadband could do for them.”

Keith Newman, director of Highlights PR, is already reaping the benefits of faster broadband at his Ulgham home office. He said: “Upgrading to fibre broadband has made a massive difference. Before the upgrade, it could take me up to half an hour to send a high resolution photograph out to the newspapers, now it takes around 30 seconds. It’s so much faster and frees up my time to get on with other things.

“On a personal level it has also made a huge difference. The kids can play online on their games consoles and we can access catch up TV with no buffering for the first time. It’s fantastic being able to enjoy both the peace and quiet of the countryside and the very latest technology.”

Simon Roberson, BT’s regional partnership director for the North East, said: “The network provided by Openreach, the local network business which is part of BT, is open to all broadband service providers – which helps to drive competition and affordable prices. In fact, the price of fibre broadband can be comparable with slower broadband so I would urge anyone who can get fibre to place an order with their internet provider superfast.”

Superfast broadband helps to improve access to jobs, allows local companies to compete in the global marketplace and creates new opportunities for local people in the way they work, learn and enjoy their leisure time.

Nearly 150,000 households and businesses in Northumberland are now able to connect to fibre broadband as a result of the iNorthumberland programme and BT’s commercial roll-out of the high-speed technology.

BT was awarded the iNorthumberland contract in April 2013, whilst the second phase contract was signed in June last year. More than £29 million will be invested in the programme area by Northumberland County Council, the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) fund, BT and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). 1

Openreach’s network is open to all broadband service providers on an equal wholesale basis and so Northumberland households and businesses can benefit from highly competitive products and pricing from a range of providers.

For up to date information on the roll-out visit www.inorthumberland.org.uk

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