More than 10,000 rural properties in Northamptonshire upgraded to ultrafast-fibre internet

Project brings broadband speeds as fast as Silicon Valley to the countryside

By Jack Duggan
Thursday, 21st May 2020, 3:37 pm
Updated Thursday, 21st May 2020, 3:38 pm

More than 10,000 rural properties in Northamptonshire have now been upgraded to ultrafast-fibre internet - as fast as the WiFi in Silicon Valley.

The Superfast Northamptonshire project milestone brings full-fibre coverage in the county to over 11 per cent, which was as low as 0.4 per cent in 2015.

Northamptonshire County Council cabinet member with responsibility for digital infrastructure, Jason Smithers, said: “This infrastructure is proving more vital than ever as more people need to work, and undertake other activities, from home.

More than 10,000 rural properties in Northamptonshire have now been upgraded to ultrafast-fibre internet. Photo: stock

"It will also play a pivotal role in stimulating an economic recovery in the response to the Covid-19 pandemic."

Phase three of Superfast Northamptonshire, delivered by Gigaclear in partnership with Building Digital UK, was launched in January 2017.

The properties in some of the remotest areas of Northamptonshire, which previously suffered internet speeds as slow as 1Mb per second, are now connected to a network with speeds of up to 1Gbps.

Minister for digital and infrastructure, Matt Warman, said: “Thanks to our £1.7 million investment thousands more rural homes and businesses in Northamptonshire can now access gigabit-speed broadband and today's milestone is worth celebrating.

"We know there is still more to be done so we've pledged £5 billion 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, said the coronavirus crisis has 'slowed down' their progress but they are continuing to connect more properties in Northamptonshire to the network.

“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," she said.

“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."