Isle set to benefit from £4m investment in next superfast broadband phase

Ed Vaizey.
Ed Vaizey.

Plans for the second phase of the Northern Lincs Broadband (NLBB) project are well underway, which will reach a further 4,000 households and businesses. This had been made possible because of savings achieved from the first project and new investments - a total of over £4m.

It is expected that over £1m in savings will be made from the first phase of the NLBB project that was completed in June 2015. The final savings amount will be confirmed in September.

The second phase of the project is made up these savings and over £3m investment; nearly £2m from BT and £1.18m Government funding from Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK).

£1.1m of the BT funding is reinvestment due to there being a higher take up of superfast broadband than expected from the first phase across Northern Lincolnshire. This additional investment is providing cashback that will be reinvested in the second phase.

This means that even more homes and businesses will be able to reap the many benefits of high-speed broadband by March 2017 - over 97 per cent of premises will have access.

The announcement comes on the same day as Government has announced the nationwide rollout of superfast broadband has now passed more than three million UK homes and businesses. The rollout is on track to reach 95 per cent of the UK by 2017 and is now reaching around 5,000 additional premises every day.

Digital Economy Minister Ed Vaizey said: “We are transforming the digital landscape of the UK and our nationwide rollout of superfast broadband has now reached an additional three million UK homes and businesses. I congratulate Northern Lincs Broadband on having reached this milestone in Northern Lincolnshire so far - they’re making incredible progress.”

Detailed rollout plans of the next NLBB phase will be announced in the coming months with the first communities included expected to benefit from the new technology from March 2016 onwards.

Communities across Northern Lincolnshire included in the next phase are Barrow, Barton, Crowle, Eastoft, Manton, Garthorpe, Howsham, Keadby, Scunthorpe, Whitton and Winterton – plus many more.

A map of the areas that will benefit from superfast broadband will be available soon.

Councillor Liz Redfern, Leader of North Lincolnshire Council, said: “Today’s announcement is a huge milestone for the superfast broadband. I am delighted that more homes and businesses across Northern Lincolnshire are going to be able to access high-speed broadband. The Government has invested heavily in Northern Lincolnshire. Gone are the days of dial-up internet - superfast broadband is the way forward. It provides unlimited benefits for both homes and businesses. We have received some really positive feedback from residents and businesses saying they have seen major differences in their internet speeds when doing a range of things, from watching catch-up TV on their tablets to downloading business files.

“The first phase of the project was a huge success. It was in the top six nationally for completing the rollout the quickest. I’m positive we will add to this success with the second phase. It is fantastic news that BT is providing additional funding due to the take up of broadband being higher than expected. This shows how successful the first phase was.”

Bill Murphy, BT’s Managing Director for Next Generation Access, said: “Today marks another very important stage in the rollout of an exciting technology, which is transforming the lives of communities across Yorkshire and The Humber and the UK as a whole.

“BT’s multi billion pound investment in superfast broadband through its involvement in partnerships and its own commercial programme has already made fibre broadband available to many hundreds of thousands of households and businesses in Northern Lincolnshire – and the number is continuing to grow rapidly. Our Openreach engineers are rolling out the technology at a world class pace, reaching thousands more premises every week.

“Successful broadband partnerships are creating a lasting legacy, which will play a key role in the future prosperity of communities for many years to come.”

The £7m NLBB project was set-up with the aim of providing high-speed fibre broadband access to around 92.5 per cent of Northern Lincolnshire by June 2015, which it has successfully done. The investment was made up of Government funding from BDUK, the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), North Lincolnshire Council and BT.

Over 31,000 properties were reached in the first phase, and they can now see major improvements to their broadband speeds – over 4,000 of which are businesses.

NLBB developed a free programme of business support to help eligible small businesses save time, money and improve efficiency. The programme of dedicated IT specialists and business advisers provided tailored support geared towards maximising the benefits of improved connectivity.

The Business Support team provided 3,000 hours of support to more than 450 local businesses across Northern Lincolnshire. 160 businesses completed the full programme.