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Bellingham to see boost in broadband connectivity

Rural communities in Northumberland are expected to see a boost in broadband connectivity following the start of internet provider WeFibre’s gigabit broadband service roll-out.

Starting in Bellingham, WeFibre are planning to deliver 1Gbps of full fibre to the home service over the coming months, demonstrating that access to reliable high speed broadband services can be as accessible for rural communities as it is for more urban areas.

WeFibre is part of the Telecom Group, and recently shared its plans to expand broadband coverage in Northumberland over the next nine to 12 months with Northumberland County Council.

Cllr Richard Wearmouth, cabinet member for corporate resources at Northumberland County Council, said: “This is an excellent opportunity for Northumberland residents and businesses, especially those located in the most rural communities. We look forward to working with WeFibre to enhance broadband connectivity across the county.”

Works are planned to begin down the A68 from Bellingham towards Hexham, and along the A69 during the remainder of 2021 and into early 2022. The network will cover Haltwhistle, Haydon Bridge, Acomb, Oakwood, Fourstones, Hexham, Corbridge, Wylam and the various hamlets nestled between these communities.

Cllr John Riddle, ward councillor for Bellingham, added: “I am delighted that WeFibre has prioritised Bellingham as one of the first villages for delivery of its gigabit service. Good connectivity is particularly important for the more rural parts of Northumberland, and this service will benefit our residents and businesses greatly.”

Shaun Gibson, CEO of Telecom Group, said: “This is an exciting day for Telcom Group and WeFibre as we embark upon our plans to deliver affordable, ultrafast internet to rural communities across Northumberland.

“Digital inclusion is vital for economic development regardless of where we live in the country. The past 18 months have demonstrated just how essential reliable and high-speed internet connectivity is to ensure that we can all continue to communicate with friends, family and business colleagues, be educated and of course be entertained – often with all three of these activities needing to take place simultaneously. This should not just be a privilege for people that live in urban areas but should extend to everybody regardless of location. The irony is that the people who reside in rural areas are in the greatest need of ultrafast services are yet are often the most underserved.”

WeFibre is in the final stages of establishing a local distribution and operational centre within the county. A key part of WeFibre’s ongoing strategy is to build a local workforce to support its network build, customer connections and support.

Mr Gibson added: “By establishing a local presence we can service our customers more efficiently and effectively. Recruiting locally brings economic benefit to the communities that we serve and over the coming 12 months we aim to establish a learning and training centre focussed on the latest telecommunications technology to help upskill people interested in a career in this stimulating field.”

For more information on WeFibre and its services, please visit www.wefibre.com
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