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Northumberland Businesses Invited to Embrace All Things Broadband


Oct 9, 2017 #Alnwick, #Business

A free event to help Northumberland businesses get to grips with broadband will be held next month by iNorthumberland.

The event, on Thursday, November 9 between 9.30am and 12 noon at St James Hall in Alnwick, is an opportunity for local businesspeople to find out more about how building a better online presence and carrying out day to day tasks online can help them become more productive and attract new customers.

As the roll-out of superfast fibre broadband continues across the county nearly half of those who can are choosing to upgrade to fibre broadband, but that still leaves many people in the slow lane, who could be benefitting from faster speeds.

Sylvia Pringle, business and community engagement officer at iNorthumberland, is running the event. She said: “I’d really love for local businesses owners to come along and learn something new at this event. Whether that is gaining an understanding of what faster broadband speeds can do to boost their business or a practical skill like online banking or using basic online accountancy packages.

“As well as the iNorthumberland team, experts will be on hand from Lloyds Bank, a local accountancy firm and Produced in Northumberland. There will also be opportunities to sign up for more in depth and completely funded training via Gateshead College and Arch Business.”

Councillor Nick Oliver, Northumberland County Council’s cabinet member with responsibility for ICT connectivity, added: “The importance of the internet to business cannot be underestimated. These days customers expect to receive a swift response to enquiries made via social media and often want to make bookings and place orders online. A stand-out website or a responsive Twitter account could be the difference between gaining or losing a potential or existing customer.”

Likewise tasks such as online banking and using online accountancy tools can save precious time and money.

Mark Temple, SME and charity digital capability and digital inclusion manager, from Lloyds Banking Group, will be at the event. He said: “Banking online is safe, easy and convenient for small businesses.  It will save time and money as transactions can be completed from your office, home or even when travelling.  We are very pleased to support iNorthumberland and local businesses at this event.”

iNorthumberland, a partnership between Northumberland County Council and BT Group, has already made fibre broadband available to more than 55,000 premises across the county.

More than 47 per cent of Northumberland households and businesses able to upgrade to the new technology have already chosen to do so – a figure which is among the highest levels of take-up in the UK.

BT Group was awarded the iNorthumberland contract in April 2013, whilst the second phase contract was signed in June last year.

More than £29 million is being invested in the programme area by Northumberland County Council, the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) fund, BT Group and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

For more information or to book a place at the Alnwick event please contact sylvia.pringle@northumberland.gov.uk

By Emily