As rural hard-to-reach communities go, Teesdale pretty much typifies the type of area that the UK government’s Project Gigabit scheme is intended to serve.
So a week ahead of the Connected North event in Manchester, it is good to see that Borderlink, trading as GoFibre, have started connecting 4,000 hard-to-reach homes and businesses in a project that will run until 2025, encompassing Middleton-in-Teesdale, Barnard Castle, Gainford, West Auckland and neighbouring communities.
The £6.6 million contract was awarded to GoFibre last Autumn, who have spent the last six months planning and surveying for the build alongside the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT) and Durham County Council.
Neil Conaghan, Chief Executive Officer at GoFibre, said: “For years, rural towns across northern England, including Teesdale, have faced a persistent digital connectivity problem, which has left local communities frustrated and very much behind in terms of infrastructure upgrades.”
Digital Infrastructure Minister Julia Lopez commented that “Teesdale was one of the first contracts awarded as part of Project Gigabit, our £5 billion plan to connect hard-to-reach areas and deliver on the Prime Minister’s priority to grow the economy. Now spades are in the ground, thousands in the region are a big step closer to feeling the benefits of lightning-fast broadband.”
Cllr Susan McDonnell, Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for digital, customer added “Not only will it allow for the creation of more opportunities for employment and education, particularly around studying or working from home, it will also help our communities to connect with each other and develop further social opportunities.”
Teesdale lies approximately 120 miles north of Manchester, an easy hop down the M61 if you want to attend Connected North on the 17-18 April. BOOK YOUR PLACE HERE