More than 10,000 rural properties in Northamptonshire have been upgraded to ultrafast-fibre internet since Phase 3 of the Superfast Northamptonshire project was launched in January 2017.
The project milestone, which has been delivered by Gigaclear in partnership with Superfast Northamptonshire and Building Digital UK (BDUK), brings full-fibre coverage in the area to over 11%, from as low as 0.4% in 2015.
The properties, which are in some of the remotest areas of rural Northamptonshire and up until now suffered internet speeds as slow as 1Mbps, are now connected to Gigaclear’s ultrafast full-fibre-to-the-property network, allowing speeds of up to 1Gbps – as fast as the internet in Silicon Valley.
Minister for Digital and Infrastructure, Matt Warman, said: “Thanks to our £1.7million investment, thousands more rural homes and businesses in Northamptonshire can now access gigabit-speed broadband and this milestone is worth celebrating.
“We know there is still more to be done so we’ve pledged £5billion to deliver better broadband to people suffering with slow speeds in hard-to-reach areas across the UK.”
Catherine Warren, regional manager for the East Midlands at Gigaclear, says: “This is an enormous achievement. Connecting rural communities to ultrafast internet is an incredibly complex task and we’re proud to have hit this milestone.
“We lay our fibre cabling below ground for longevity and to decrease environmental impact and visual blight. In rural environments, that means working with heavy duty equipment on very small roads, negotiating wayleaves on private property, navigating river and rail crossings, and, of course, working to minimise visible indications of our presence in what are often very beautiful environments. These challenges are why rural Northamptonshire has gone so long without decent broadband, other providers simply weren’t willing to go there.
“Although COVID-19 has slowed us down, we are continuing to work to connect further properties in Northamptonshire where safe to do so, as our work is considered essential by government. This situation has highlighted just how vital ultrafast connectivity is to modern life.”
Northamptonshire County Councillor, and Cabinet member with responsibility for digital infrastructure, Jason Smithers, said: “I am delighted with the progress that Gigaclear has made connecting many of our rural communities with futureproof full-fibre broadband, as part of the Superfast Northamptonshire project. This infrastructure is proving more vital than ever as more people need to work, and undertake other activities, from home. It will also play a pivotal role in stimulating an economic recovery in the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.”