Residents in County Durham who experience slow internet speeds are being encouraged to apply for subsidised broadband.

The Better Broadband Subsidy Scheme (BBSS) provides homes and businesses which do not have access to speeds of at least two megabits per second, with a subsidised installation.

Digital Durham, which administers the scheme in County Durham on behalf of UK Government, is now encouraging residents to find out if they are eligible for up to £350 towards the cost of getting connected.

Alan Patrickson, head of digital and customer services at Durham County Council – which leads Digital Durham, said: “Our programme has brought faster fibre broadband to more than 120,000 households and businesses to date, with another 15,000 set to benefit in the next year.

“There are a small percentage of properties which we are unable to connect at this stage.

“However the Better Broadband Subsidy Scheme may be able to help people get access to faster internet speeds now through alternative technologies such as satellite, 4G or wireless, and we’d really encourage them to find out whether they’re eligible.”

The BBSS was set up by the Department for Digital, Culture,  Media and Sport’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) and is delivered by Digital Durham in the following council areas: Darlington Borough Council; Durham County Council; Gateshead Council; Hartlepool Borough Council; Middlesbrough Council; North Tyneside Council; Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council; South Tyneside Council; Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council and Sunderland City Council.

The scheme pays towards the hardware and installation costs of getting connected but eligible residents will still be required to pay any additional fees such as the monthly service charge.

Digital Durham is a £34 million initiative to transform broadband speeds for residents and businesses across the North East.

The first phase has seen more than 107,000 households and businesses connected to faster fibre broadband.

The second phase will see a further 29,000 benefit by September 2018, with 14,000 of those already connected.

To find out more about the BBSS or Digital Durham, visit www.digitaldurham.org

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