First Fibre Cabinet Goes Live In Go Digital Newcastle BDUK Project

The first cabinet in the Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK)-funded rollout of superfast broadband in Newcastle has gone live in Wyedale Way in Walker, with the network set to reach more than 1,400 homes and businesses in the next few weeks.

Local leaders have hailed the development as a “significant step” in the £3.8 million rollout, which has since been integrated into the Go Digital Newcastle project, funded to the tune of £1.89 million by BT and £950,000 by Newcastle City Council, with the same amount provided by BDUK.

Go Digital Newcastle will also fund a public Wi-Fi network and offer broadband vouchers worth £3,000 to SMBs as part of the government’s superconnected cities initiative. Including the BDUK component, the overall project is worth £9 million.

Go Digital Newcastle fibre

The first areas of the city to benefit from the fibre rollout will be in Walker, Byker, Cochrane Park, Manor Park, Elswick, South Benwell and Fenham, and will build on BT’s  existing commercial rollouts in Newcastle, West Newcastle, Gosforth, Jesmond, Lemington and Wideopen.

By the end of summer 2015 it is expected that fibre will be available to 97 percent of the city, with the infrastructure available to all providers on a wholesale basis from BT Openreach.

Superfast broadband advocates claim faster speeds will improve residents’ lives through improved public services, the ability to work from home and better entertainment, while businesses can attract new markets and investments.

The launch of the first cabinet was attended by pupils from Walker Technology College and its headteacher Mike Collier, who says that although the school already has great broadband, the arrival of fibre at pupils’ homes will improve their education.

“Use of the internet now touches every part of the curriculum, with pupils using it every day for everything from interactive exercises to doing online research for school projects and a variety of other schoolwork,” he says. “Without fast connectivity and speeds there is the risk that children will miss out on what is now an essential learning tool.”

Other super-connected city initiatives include free Wi-Fi networks in Leeds, Bradford and Cardiff, while Edinburgh and Birmingham were forced to abandon plans to build their own fibre networks in favour of a public Wi-Fi offering.

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Steve McCaskill

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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