Digital connectivity in rural communities across the North of Tyne region is set to be transformed following a successful bid for £12million.
The North of Tyne Combined Authority (NTCA) made a bid to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport earlier this year for the investment from its Local Full Fibre Networks Programme.
That amount has now been awarded in full, paving the way for a rollout of fibre internet connections to public buildings across the region, drastically improving the speed and reliability of digital connections.
The investment will be focused on the region’s rural areas which traditionally struggle to attract this kind of funding.
Cllr Nick Forbes, the North of Tyne cabinet member for business competitiveness and leader of Newcastle City Council said: “This is a fantastic outcome which will allow us to further enhance the region’s reputation for its pioneering approaching to technological developments.
“We have one of the fastest-growing technology sectors outside the capital, and the rollout of full fibre internet to those more rural regions will help more communities within the North of Tyne area benefit from that.”
Jamie Driscoll, the North of Tyne Mayor, said: “Just as connectivity with the railways changed people’s lives in the industrial revolution, Full Fibre is part of the Green Industrial Revolution.
“The Full Fibre project gives us an edge in infrastructure. It gives a platform for clean economic growth – as virtual reality software becomes increasingly common, it helps tackle climate change by reducing the need to drive around in order to connect with each other.”
“A lot of this sounds very technical – but in layman’s terms, Full Fibre increases the internet bandwidth to our rural communities by a factor of 50. All aspects of our lives will use more data connectivity – businesses collaborating through teleconferencing, people working from home, our kids learning with virtual reality, even the way we shop.
“With the North of Tyne delivering this, rural Northumberland will have better connectivity than most UK city centres.”