iNorthumberland, the Northumberland County Council-led campaign to bring improved internet connections to every part of the County, is aiming to secure additional funding to develop a specific project in the North Tyne and Redesdale area. If successful, this would see the area benefiting from faster speeds much quicker than other parts of the County.
As part of the work to lobby for funding, the team is urging every resident and business within the area to get behind the campaign and register their support.
Stephen Gray, programme director for iNorthumberland said: “The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has launched a fund to help some of the most rural communities in the UK get improved broadband services quickly.
“In discussion with local residents and businesses the County Council believes that the North Tyne and Redesdale area would particularly benefit from this DEFRA fund. We are currently developing a bid with representatives from the community and local stakeholders which we will submit early in July this year.”
Because the DEFRA fund is limited, the team is asking every resident and business throughout the area to register their support for the bid before the end of June by visiting a special registration website at www.inorthumberland.org.uk/iwant . For those people currently unable to get online, they can complete one of the campaign support postcards which are available in a number of locations throughout the area, including local libraries, GP surgeries, pubs and village shops.
Stephen added: “Securing this money is by no means a sure thing. This is a competitive process and the North Tyne and Redesdale area is going up against many other rural communities across the UK in securing this money.
“We are aware that in other parts of the country, evidence of high demand for superfast broadband has been looked on favourably in the past when awarding money. If our proposal is to get a fair hearing, we need all local people to get behind us and support our campaign now. The timescales are tight, but we feel this gives a good chance for local people to jump ahead in the queue and secure better broadband in the near future.”