GoFibre’s first phase of Broadband Network completes under UK Government’s Project Gigabit

27/11/2023
Neil Conaghan (Chief Executive Officer at GoFibre)

A NEW full fibre broadband network is now available to more than 800 hard-to-reach homes and businesses in an area of Teesdale as the first phase of the broadband network build completes under the UK government’s Project Gigabit programme, which is helping to bring next generation connectivity to rural communities across the UK.

GoFibre, who was awarded the £6.6million contract last Autumn, commenced construction of the broadband network in April after a six-month period of surveying and planning with Durham County Council and the government’s executive agency Building Digital UK (BDUK).

As part of this first phase of the network build, 885 homes and businesses in Barnard Castle, Middleton-in-Teesdale and Winston can now access and benefit from the best broadband speeds and reliability available, through the new full fibre broadband network, with the first connections to GoFibre customers being made in the last few weeks. 

Construction of the network in Teesdale will be continuing until 2025 as GoFibre makes its way across the area. Once complete, more than 4,000 local residents and businesses will be able to access gigabit-capable broadband.

Lightning-fast and fit for the future, gigabit-capable networks allow communities to upload and download data with none of the disruptions associated with ageing copper networks. More than half of UK households (52%) now have access to full fibre services, but these are most common in urban areas which is why the government is investing £5 billion to connect hard-to-reach places that might otherwise miss out.

The implementation of GoFibre’s network in rural Teesdale is the initial step in helping to tackle the digital divide across northern England by providing world-class digital connectivity. Residents and businesses now have access to gigabit-capable speeds which significantly enhances their ability to work effectively from home, improves business productivity, and ensures households can use as many gadgets as they want to their hearts’ content.

One of those residents is John Boocock from Middleton-in-Teesdale. After being plagued with terrible connectivity for as long as he can remember, he was one of the first to sign up for full fibre after hearing about the contract being awarded.

John said: “I need a fast and reliable connection that’s suitable for large file transfers as I mix and master music for people across the UK and America. Before I had full fibre, it would be very time consuming to complete most tasks. And on a bad day, a real struggle.

“Full fibre works perfectly with the server set-up I use to store all my files so I couldn’t be happier with my new and improved set-up. It has been game-changing for me.”

Neil Conaghan, Chief Executive Officer at GoFibre, said: “It is with great pleasure that we announce the first customers have been connected to our full fibre broadband network in Teesdale.

“Through our partnership with the UK government and Durham County Council, the completion of this first phase marks a significant step forward in our aim to close the digital divide across rural areas, many of whom, like John, have faced years of persistent digital connectivity problems.

“To any locals or businesses interested in learning more about how our network can benefit them, please do get in touch or register. We appreciate your patience during the ongoing construction and are excited to continue to bring the benefits of full fibre connectivity to even more homes and businesses in Teesdale.”

Minister for Data and Digital Infrastructure, Sir John Whittingdale, said: “I’m delighted to see the first local residents in Teesdale being able to plug into the fastest broadband speeds on the market thanks to our Project Gigabit investment.

“Working with GoFibre, we are set to deliver next generation broadband to thousands more homes and businesses from Barnard Castle to West Auckland, ensuring people have access to the fastest connections fit for the future.”

Cllr Susan McDonnell, Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for digital, customer services and procurement, added: “We’re really pleased to see the progress of the fibre broadband roll out in Teesdale, which complements several other programmes aimed at improving connectivity across Teesdale and the wider county.

“Access to a fast and stable broadband connection brings so many benefits; it’s a must for people studying or working from home; and from a social perspective it opens up opportunities for people to connect with others. Not having this access can really hold people back in many respects.

“Reliable broadband is a key part of our ambitious plans for economic growth across the county and we look forward to more people in our communities benefitting from projects like this.”

GoFibre is also working with BDUK and Northumberland County Council as it continues to construct a new full fibre network in North Northumberland following a second contract award win for the Scottish independent broadband provider last year.

Households and businesses in Teesdale can register their interest in GoFibre’s full fibre broadband services by visiting gofibre.co.uk/register.

GoFibre’s full fibre broadband connection is live in:

  • Scottish Borders – Kelso, St Boswells, Coldstream, Galashiels, Melrose
  • Aberdeenshire – Portlethen, Newtonhill, Stonehaven
  • Angus – Montrose
  • East Lothian – North Berwick, Dunbar, Haddington, Prestonpans
  • Fife – Cupar, Cardenden, Burntisland
  • Teesdale – Middleton-in-Teesdale, Barnard Castle, Winston

And the broadband provider is currently building its network in:

  • Aberdeenshire – Laurencekirk
  • Angus – Kirriemuir, Forfar, Brechin
  • Midlothian – Gorebridge
  • Fife – Newport-on-Tay, Tayport
  • Teesdale – Gainford, West Auckland
  • North Northumberland – Berwick-upon-Tweed, Seahouses, Wooler, Belford

The company is headquartered in Edinburgh, with an engineering depot in Berwick-Upon-Tweed and West Auckland.

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