As part of the £25 million Digital Durham initiative, 36,000 homes and businesses now have access to high speed fibre broadband in an area across County Durham, Gateshead, Sunderland and the Tees Valley.
BT engineers from the Openreach division have placed over 200 kilometres of fibre-optic broadband cables and installed nearly 250 cabinets across the region.
The project, in partnership between local authorities and BT, aims to deliver fibre-optic broadband to 94% of all homes and businesses across Durham in the next two years.
The £25 million initiative is currently funded jointly with BT providing nearly £6 million, £10 million from local authorities and £9 million of central government funding from Broadband Delivery UK.
Cabinet member for Corporate Services, Councillor Jane Brown, said: “It is great… people are already seeing such a difference from upgrading to superfast broadband… so I would urge people to look at whether they too can benefit from faster internet access.”
BT North East regional partnership director, Simon Roberson, commented: “Delivering a project of this size is never easy, but our engineers have been working tirelessly to keep everything on track and on time – making fibre broadband available to roughly 1000 new premises every week.
“Investment in fibre and faster broadband speeds will be a key part of this regions’ future economic growth. Broadband is now seen as an essential rather than a luxury.
“Broadband numbers are increasing strongly, not least because people see it as a route to jobs and markets. It provides the cornerstone for prosperous communities – helping local people build their skills and knowledge and encouraging the creation of new businesses and jobs.”