In 2021, Scottish alternative network provider Borderlink, trading as GoFibre, secured a £7.3 million Project Gigabit contract by the UK government, earmarking for fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) deployment in North Northumberland. After approximately six months of surveying and strategizing, GoFibre has declared readiness to initiate the deployment process, which targets coverage of approximately 3,750 premises.
GoFibre anticipates commencing commercial services in the autumn of this year, with the earliest deployments planned for locations including Berwick-upon-Tweed, Seahouses, Wooler, Belford among other neighbouring communities. Nevertheless, the full deployment process is not projected to conclude until 2025.
CEO of GoFibre, Neil Conaghan, expressed optimism regarding the positive impact of fibre deployments on the local economies of these rural areas. Enhanced commercial digitalisation and the creation of employment opportunities were cited as notable benefits.
Conaghan stated, “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.”
Previous to this, GoFibre has been responsible for another Project Gigabit rollout, after securing a £6.6 million contract for deploying fibre in Teesdale last September. The deployment phase of this project began in April of this year, with aims of supplying roughly 4,000 premises with fibre by 2025.
GoFibre’s fibre deployments have been gaining momentum. Earlier in 2022 the firm enjoyed an investment of £164 million from the Gresham House Investment Fund. This massive financial injection enabled an increase in GoFibre’s FTTP rollout target to half a million premises before the end of 2025.
In recent plans announced by GoFibre, they are set to expand further, detailing plans to include an additional 32 towns and villages in Scotland and Northern England. The company aims to deepen its reach, covering a notable 82,000 premises before the start of 2024.
In correlation, a recent announcement by the UK government awarded the latest Project Gigabit contracts, all of them totalling £318 million, to CityFibre.
To address key questions arising such as whether the UK is deploying fibre quickly enough to align with the government’s ambitious gigabit rollout targets, interested stakeholders are invited to contribute to ongoing discussions at Connected Britain, the UK’s largest digital economy event.
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