More than 3,750 hard-to-reach homes and businesses in Northumberland are set to be connected to a full fibre network.

The premises in the rural north of the county will be hooked up to Scottish firm GoFibre’s network thanks to a government-backed ‘Project Gigabit’ scheme.

Homes and businesses across Berwick-upon-Tweed, Seahouses, Wooler, Belford and neighbouring communities able to access the network from as early as autumn 2023.

Borderlink, trading as GoFibre, was awarded the £7.3m contract last autumn and has spent the last six months planning and surveying for the build alongside the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT) and Northumberland County Council.

Neil Conaghan, chief executive officer at GoFibre, said: “We have been busy engaging with rural-based residents and businesses across the north of England and the demand for full fibre connectivity couldn’t be higher. In some of these areas a working Smart TV is out of the question, which so many of us take for granted, because the digital speeds and reliability aren’t there.

“These communities are at real risk of being left behind and so we are thrilled to be addressing the rural digital divide head-on with our North Northumberland build officially underway. By way of our partnership with the UK government and Northumberland County Council, we are implementing a future-proof network which will equip these locations with the tools required to drive innovation and success. 

“We are grateful for residents’ patience and understanding during the construction phase and we look forward to them experiencing the great benefits of full fibre connectivity later this year.”

Sir John Whittingdale, minister for data and digital infrastructure, said: “The government’s flagship £5bn Project Gigabit scheme is bringing fast, reliable connectivity to every corner of the UK. Whether in towns, cities, or rural communities like North Northumberland, it’s vital that everyone has access to a modern digital infrastructure which unlocks opportunity and fuels growth.

“GoFibre’s work will do exactly that – boosting connectivity for more than 3,750 hard-to-reach premises in the region with the first connections coming online later this year.”

Councillor Richard Wearmouth, deputy leader at Northumberland County Council and cabinet member for corporate services said: “This is fantastic news for our hard-to-reach areas. We all know the benefits faster and more reliable broadband connection has for our local communities. 

“Whether this is helping to expand local businesses in the area or helping people access online services such as prescriptions or banking or simply allowing families to connect with friends and family easier or stream the latest media – there is so much to gain from getting online. 

“I would urge anyone with access to this to contact their supplier and see what options are available.”

GoFibre is also working with DSIT and Northumberland County Council, as they continue construction of their first contract award win for Project Gigabit which was awarded last year