Published on 02.03.2023

Openreach reveal that thousands in Alnwick are missing out on faster broadband

Across Northumberland, 41 per cent of homes and businesses who can upgrade to Ultrafast Full Fibre have done so.

But there’s more to do in Alnwick where only around one in ten homes and businesses have so far chosen to place an order, meaning thousands are still missing out on the opportunity for faster, more reliable broadband services.

Following a £1.2 million local investment, Openreach’s chief engineers have been busy building the new network to make ultrafast speeds of up to one gigabit per second (Gbps) available to the majority of the market town.

People living and working there are being encouraged to find out more about the faster broadband – as the latest figures show that Openreach’s Full Fibre network – used by a wide range of service providers including BT, Sky, TalkTalk, Vodafone and Zen – is now available to more than 4,000 premises.

As well as being faster, Full Fibre broadband provides more reliable, resilient and future-proof connectivity, with fewer faults; more predictable, consistent speeds; and enough capacity to use multiple devices at once.

Cllr Richard Wearmouth, deputy leader of Northumberland County Council and portfolio holder for corporate services , said: “It’s fantastic that many homes and businesses in Alnwick can now benefit from the fastest broadband speeds available. Good connectivity is vital to our modern lives and can open up a whole host of benefits and opportunities for work and leisure purposes alike.

“I would urge anyone who has fibre broadband available in their area to talk to their supplier about the packages available and take full advantage of the fastest speeds. If you need advice to get online or need help with your digital skills the Council has a range of useful resources to help you do so.”

Elsewhere, Openreach engineers are also hard at work in Berwick where more than 2,000 households and businesses can already place an order for the new technology.

The company has also announced plans to build in nine other nearby communities including  Alnmouth, Amble, Longframlington, Lynemouth, Red Row, Rothbury, Seahouses, Shilbottle and Ulgham.

Robert Thorburn, Openreach’s regional manager for Scotland and the North East, said: “Fast and reliable Full Fibre broadband gives households and businesses a boost. It can have a huge impact on people’s daily lives and it’s great for the economy too.

“The important thing to remember is that upgrades don’t happen automatically. People need to contact, and place orders through, their broadband provider to take advantage.”

“Our engineering build continues across the North East and we’re determined to deliver a great service to local residents, helping people to work from home easily and build connections and opportunities in their communities. This network’s also future-proof so it’ll work for decades, no matter how much bandwidth we need and what life throws at us next.”

Packages from a wide range of broadband providers are increasingly competitively priced, meaning people may pay similar, or even less, per month than their current bill for a much-improved service.

Once somebody places an order with a service provider, an Openreach engineer will visit on an agreed day. They’ll run a new fibre optical cable from underground or a nearby pole to a small junction box on the outside wall of the premises. A smaller cable goes through the outside wall to an inside unit – which needs to be near a double electricity socket. Before they leave, the engineer will test the connection to make sure it’s up and running.

Suzy Walker, founder of The Alnwick Story Fest and freelance journalist, lives and works in Alnwick. She said: “As well being an amazing place to live Alnwick also has brilliant broadband, which has been of huge benefit throughout the process of organising the story fest.

“As someone who mainly works from home it’s vital that I have broadband which is just as good as in a city centre office. Whatever I need to do online – whether it’s video calls or social media lives – I can do it with no concerns that the broadband will let me down.”

Openreach has announced plans to invest in Full Fibre broadband for the majority of premises in dozens of cities, towns and villages across the North East. It’s part of the company’s plans to reach 25 million UK homes and businesses by the end of 2026. This short video explains what full fibre technology is and you can find out more about our build programme here.

A report by the Centre for Economics & Business Research (Cebr) shows that connecting everyone in the North East to ‘Full Fibre’ broadband would create a £1.7 billion boost to the local economy, by unlocking smarter ways of working, better public services and greater opportunities for the next-generation of home-grown businesses.

Pictured: Suzy Walker with Openreach engineers in Alnwick.