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North East plays leading role in achieving UK superfast broadband coverage target

North East plays leading role in achieving UK superfast broadband coverage target
The three areas have all been praised for playing a leading role in Great Britain achieving the target of 95 per cent superfast broadband coverage

All of them have surpassed the national average with Middlesbrough reaching 97.4 per cent coverage, North Tyneside 98.4 percent and County Durham 95.3 per cent.

Derek Richardson, Programme Director in the North East for Openreach, which employs more than 1,100 engineers and other workers in the region, said: “This is a great news for both the country and for the North East. For a number of years the region has led the way with the roll-out of this exciting technology, which is providing a major boost for the economy. We have some of the highest superfast coverage figures, which is a tribute to the hard work of local engineers and the success of the Digital Durham BDUK partnership. The multi million pound scheme has been one of the largest and most complex engineering projects in the whole region over recent years and it’s a great example of the public and private sectors working effectively together. We have managed to bring new services to areas which fall outside the private sector’s commercial programme and we’re determined to go further. Openreach is continuing to work with its public sector partners, including Tees Valley Combined Authority and Middlesbrough Borough Council, to get faster broadband to even more locations.”

Tees Valley Mayor, Ben Houchen said: “Today, superfast broadband is a necessity rather than a luxury. From ensuring Tees Valley businesses have the ability to compete on a global scale to connecting families to their loved ones, it’s vital we have the means to reach out to the world. Thanks to our funding, Middlesbrough is leading the UK in superfast broadband provision. This 97.4 per cent coverage will pave the way for more success and competitiveness in our key advanced manufacturing, process, chemicals and energy and digital and creative sectors. I couldn’t be more proud of what we are doing, but we Teessiders always strive for more. So there is still work to be done to achieve our even higher goal of over 98 per cent coverage and really make the region a world-beater in connectivity.”

Cllr Joy Allen, Durham County Council’s cabinet member for transformation, said: “This is wonderful recognition of the work done in County Durham. We know how important it is for people to have superfast download speeds and we’re proud to say that the work undertaken by the Digital Durham programme has contributed to achieving the UK Government 95 per cent target. Whilst excellent progress has been made, work under the programme continues to extend coverage further so that more residents and businesses can benefit from faster broadband speeds and the opportunities they can create.”

Nationally, Openreach chief executive Clive Selley recognised the “huge contribution” of more than 9,300 Openreach people across the UK following a Government announcement that 95 per cent of the country can now order superfast broadband speeds of at least 24 Megabits per second (Mbps). Openreach has rolled out more than 35 million kilometres of fibre optic cables in an initiative taking more than 145 million man hours.