Northern Lincs Broadband Project passes the halfway mark

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Nearly 17,000 homes and businesses are now able to benefit from fibre broadband.

The Northern Lincolnshire Broadband (NLBB) project has passed the halfway mark with 16,835 homes and businesses now able to connect to high-speed broadband across North and North East Lincolnshire.

By the end of the project in June 2015 the multi-million pound initiative will have made fibre optic broadband available to 31,000 properties.

Areas that can already benefit from high-speed broadband as a result of the project are: Winterton, Winteringham, Scunthorpe (parts of Bottesford, Timberlands, Riddings, Frodingham, Crosby and Ashby), Epworth, Barton, Brigg, Broughton, Belton, Cleethorpes, East Halton, Grimsby, Immingham, Barrow, Great Coates, Messingham, Worlaby, North and South Killingholme, Ashby-cum-Fenby, Brigsley, Humberston, Scartho, Waltham and Laceby.

In total NLBB will invest more than £7m to extend fibre broadband to reach over 92 per cent of North and North East Lincolnshire. The programme builds on BT’s commercial investment of £2.5 billion to roll out fibre broadband to two-thirds of UK premises. This investment has already brought fibre broadband to more than 73,500 homes and businesses in parts of Brigg, Scunthorpe, Grimsby, Scartho, Healing and Barton-upon-Humber.

Cllr Neil Poole, cabinet member for policy and resources at North Lincolnshire Council, said:

“The Northern Lincs Broadband project is already having a huge impact on the area. Residents and businesses across Northern Lincolnshire keep telling us how much of a difference it is making to be able to access high-speed broadband.

“I can’t believe we are already half way through the project and the 92 per cent of North and North East Lincolnshire properties to benefit from fibre optic broadband is fast becoming a reality. There is still more work to be done before June next year, but I am confident we are on track to achieve this.”

Fibre broadband means everyone in the family can do their own thing online, all at the same time, whether it’s downloading music in minutes or watching catch-up TV; streaming HD or 3D movies in a few minutes; or posting photos and videos to social networking sites in seconds. It will also improve access to new job opportunities, and make it easier to shop around for cheaper services.

Tom Keeney, BT’s regional director for Yorkshire and the Humber, said: “This is a great achievement. Delivering a project of this size is never easy, but our engineers have been working tirelessly to keep the overall project on track and on time – deploying fibre to on average 600 new premises every week.

“Fibre broadband will bring the digital world right to the doorsteps of homes and businesses across the county. Faster connectivity breaks down the barriers to doing business in the digital world like online trading, which helps to empower those small businesses to find new markets, sell new products, try new models and compete on an equal footing with larger businesses.”

One person already benefitting from the roll out is David Raines from Brigg, who often works from home one a day a week. He said:

“Since having fibre optic broadband we have never found a situation where we can’t do what we need or want to do on the internet. Even when we have friends over, we are still able to use our devices at the same time if we need to. For example, my son can play games online whilst I’m working at home and my other son is streaming a TV programme – with no problems at all.”

The benefits are also considerable for businesses, which can do much more in far less time. Firms can speed up file and data transfers, collaborate with colleagues and customers on conference or video calls or swap their hardware and expensive software licenses for files, processing power and software from cloud computing. Staff can work as effectively from home as they would in the office.

So far the Northern Lincolnshire Broadband Business Support team has provided 2,189 hours of support to 150 local businesses across the area. 108 businesses have completed the full programme.

Simon Mapplethorpe, managing director at Scunthorpe-based firm, Skyline Internet found the one-to-one business support “very helpful and interesting”. He said: “We sat down as a team with the business advisor and discussed how we felt we scored against different criteria. Overall, we scored relatively well, but the business advisor was able to suggest ways we could better manage cash flow. We have since started to bring someone in a few days a month to chase payments so that we can focus on the day-to-day work.

“All the NLBB staff are very professional and make the topics interesting and interactive. The programme is well run. If you have the right mind-set; if you are willing to learn and listen to experts, it can be extremely beneficial and worthwhile.”

A variety of workshops and one-to-one support is still available to eligible businesses to help them save time, money and improve efficiency. The team of technology specialists and business advisors provide tailored support geared towards maximising the benefits of faster connectivity. Businesses can find out more by calling 01724 297752 or email nlbb@northlincs.gov.uk.

Cllr Poole added: “If your business hasn’t already taken advantage of the invaluable business support on offer, it isn’t too late. Get in contact with them to find out how they can help your business grow.”

For up to date information on available business support and the project visit: www.northlincs.gov.uk/jobs-business-regen/business-information-and-advice/northern-lincolnshire-broadband-project/ or www.investinnorthlincs.co.uk.