Thousands more South Tyneside homes and businesses can now access high-speed, fibre-based broadband as a direct result of South Tyneside Council’s investment into the multi million pound Digital Durham programme.
A massive 98.6 per cent of homes and businesses in the borough can now access superfast broadband speeds, which is the highest coverage of all the North East local authorities.
Across the borough, around 4,700 premises have been upgraded by engineers from Openreach, the business responsible for Britain’s largest phone and broadband network, since the first South Tyneside fibre broadband cabinet ‘went live’ in Jarrow, just over a year ago.This is in addition to around 58,500premises already upgraded as part of Openreach’s own commercial roll-out of fibre in the borough.
Most recently, additional properties in Boldon Colliery, South Shields and Jarrow have joined those upgraded earlier in the roll-out in communities such as Whitburn, Hebburn, East Boldon, Bede Trading Estate and the Viking Industrial Estate. A further 368will be upgraded under current roll-out plans.
Thousands of residents and businesses have ordered the new technology and are reaping the benefits of increased broadband speeds of to up to 80 Mbps1 - but that still leaves many people who have access to faster speeds but haven't yet upgraded.
Welcoming the rapid progress, Cllr Ed Malcolm, Lead Member for Resources and Innovation at South Tyneside Council, said: “This is excellent news for the Borough and shows South Tyneside to be at the forefront of superfast broadband coverage for our residents and businesses.
“Our work with the Digital Durham partnership and investment into the programme has ensured we have already surpassed the UK Government’s 95 per cent target and, as work continues to extend coverage further, more of our residents will have the opportunity to benefit from faster broadband speeds.
“This is also vital in unlocking economic growth helping to create more jobs, increase business opportunities and support education and learning.”
Derek Richardson, Openreach programme director for the North East, added: “Although South Tyneside is an urban area, work to boost speeds across the borough has been vital. The demand for faster, more reliable broadband speeds, driven by the ever increasing use of bandwidth-hungry devices, such as smartphones, tablets and even TVs, has never been greater. And that need for speed will only increase so ensuring South Tyneside communities can keep up is essential.
“Faster broadband will also support local businesses to find new customers and become more competitive, efficient and able to compete within the UK and abroad, boosting the local economy and helping to create or protect local jobs.”
Digital Durham is a partnership of ten local authorities - led by Durham County Council and BT Group - which aims to bring superfast broadband to homes and businesses in areas not included in commercial fibre rollouts.
In total, £34 million has been invested in Digital Durham by Durham County Council, BT Group, the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) programme and public sector partners in South Tyneside, Gateshead, Sunderland, North Tyneside and Tees Valley.
For more information about the Digital Durham programme please visit www.digitaldurham.org
 Tees Valley includes Darlington Borough Council, Hartlepool Borough Council, Middlesbrough Council, Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council and Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council.
Openreach is Britain’s digital network business.
We’re 30,400 people who connect homes, mobile phone masts, schools, shops, banks, hospitals, libraries, broadcasters, governments and businesses - large and small - to the world.
Our mission is to build the best possible network, with the highest quality service, making sure that everyone in Britain can be connected.
We work on behalf of more than 590 communications providers like SKY, TalkTalk, Vodafone, and BT, and our fibre broadband network is the biggest in the UK, passing more 27 million premises. We’re also the platform for Britain’s thriving digital economy, which is the largest in the G20.
We’re working hard to give people the speeds they need to run and enjoy their daily lives. Over the last decade, we’ve invested more than £11 billion into our network and we now manage more than 160 million kilometres of cable stretching from Scotland to Cornwall, from Wales to the east coast. And we’re continuing to take that network further - making superfast broadband speeds available to thousands more homes and businesses every week.
Openreach is a wholly owned and independently governed division of the BT Group, and it is a highly regulated business, with more than 90 per cent of our revenues generated from services that are regulated by Ofcom.
Any company can access our products under exactly the same prices, terms and conditions.
For the year ended 31 March 2017, we reported revenues of £5.1bn.
For more information, visitopenreach.co.uk