North East among first areas to get better broadband from £5bn project

The North East will be among the first areas to benefit from Project Gigabit, the government’s new £5 billion scheme to bring the fastest broadband on earth to hard-to-reach areas.

Up to 130,000 homes and businesses in the local authority areas of County Durham, Darlington, Stockton, Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, Redcar and Cleveland, Sunderland, Gateshead, South Tyneside,Tees Valley and part of Northumberland, will have new gigabit broadband built to them.

Who will benefit from the project?

The government-funded projects will prioritise buildings that currently have the slowest connections and which would otherwise have been left behind in broadband companies’ rollout plans.

Their available speeds will rocket to more than 1,000 megabits or one gigabit per second.

It means families no longer having to battle over bandwidth and will give people in rural areas the freedom to live and work more flexibly.

What are the benefits?

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport said, "Gigabit-capable broadband connections offer the fastest and most reliable speeds available. They will pave the way for new and unexpected social benefits alongside jobs and economic growth over the coming decades, and revolutionise rural communities by giving people the freedom to live and work more flexibly."

Councillor Andrea Patterson, Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for corporate services and rural issues, said:

“As a large rural county, many of our County Durham residents and businesses have slower broadband speeds and some have no access to broadband at all, which presents a number of challenges for them to stay connected.

The first areas will see work begin from early 2022.