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Northumberland County Council offers to handle broadband digging

11/02/20

Mark Say Managing Editor

Northumberland County Council has proposed that it should take direct charge of providing links for broadband into some residents’ homes.

Nick Oliver, Matt Warman, Guy Opperman

It wants to direct the efforts at connecting isolated homes and communities across the county through taking responsibility for laying the cables into specific areas.

The authority has begun discussions with Digital and Broadband minister Matt Warman and Hexham MP Guy Opperman, with the former asking it to provide a full business case ahead of the Government’s Budget.

This follows the earlier provision of £12 million under the Government’s Local Full Fibre Networks Programme to provide fibre internet connections to public buildings.

Nick Oliver, the county council’s cabinet member for corporate resources, said: “It is one of those lightbulb moments when you start to think about how we connect some of our most rural homes to broadband, when major companies are unwilling or unable to link them up.

“Within the council we already have in-house vast expertise in terms of planning, laying trenches, building infrastructure and IT.

“So rather than waiting for other organisations to develop longer-term solutions we just want to get on with installing broadband and connecting communities - something that many of just take for granted.”

The council said that if the scheme wins approval the work could begin later this year.

Image (L-R): Nick Oliver, Matt Warman, Guy Opperman

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