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.
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. Northumberland Live in Blyth, Glendale Show, Powburn Show, Corbridge Village Show and Alnwick Food Festival are among the events due to be visited. A full list of locations is below.
John Cooper said: “The roll-out of superfast broadband across Northumberland 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.
“Already, around a third of those who can order fibre broadband in Northumberland have done so, which is fantastic but we don’t want to stop there. Every day I hear from people who have got tangible benefits from upgrading. Whether it’s a local business that has seen an increase in sales thanks to an improved social media profile or a family with school children who can now access their homework online as fast at home as they can at school, faster broadband speeds make a difference. Anything you can do online you can do better and faster with fibre.”
Morpeth-based business, Emma Bunting, is just one business that has benefitted from faster broadband. Founder and owner Emma Scott works from home designing and creating bespoke bunting. She has recently designed bunting for the iNorthumberland stall depicting well known Northumbrian landmarks including Blyth Beach huts, Amble pods, the Royal Border Bridge Berwick, Lindisfarne Castle and the Longstone lighthouse
She said: “My whole business is online, so having a strong digital presence is essential to running my business. I believe developing my website has been pivotal in creating the “face” of Emma Bunting and I use Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram daily to interact with my customers and other businesses working within my industries. The internet has enabled me to reach a much larger geographical audience, faster and more effectively than any traditional methods. Speed and connectivity to me is exciting as it enables me to improve my customer service by responding to customers almost immediately. Using my smartphone I can connect with my customers seven days a week – how’s that for customer service!”
Simon Roberson, BT’s regional partnership director for the North East, said: “The network provided by BT’s local network business, Openreach, is open to all broadband service providers – which helps to drive competition and affordable prices. In fact, fibre broadband can now be a similar price to 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, creates new opportunities for local people in the way they work, learn and enjoy their leisure time.
More than 146,000 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.
The majority of premises in Northumberland will be getting access to some of the best broadband speeds in the UK via iNorthumberland and the commercial roll-out of fibre by Openreach.
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