A MULTI million pound initiative to improve internet access across County Durham will see two communities get high speed fibre broadband for the first time.

Sedgefield and Trimdon will benefit from the next stage of Digital Durham - a £25 million initiative to transform broadband speeds for businesses and residents across county along with Gateshead, Sunderland and the Tees Valley.

The project is expected to help create jobs and boost the local economy.

More than 12,000 homes and businesses in 14 exchange areas will be included in the second phase with engineers set to install many more new green fibre broadband cabinets and lay hundreds of kilometres of cable.

Crook, Beamish, Coxhoe, Meadowfield, New Brancepeth, Peterlee, Stanley, Washington, Burnopfield, Dipton, Lanchester and Wellfield already have the high speed technology but further investment will make fibre more widely available in those areas.

Survey work is well under way with the first households and businesses expected to be able to place orders within days.

Councillor Jane Brown, Durham County Council’s cabinet member for corporate services, said: “We are extremely pleased with the progress of Digital Durham and it’s great to see the second phase already getting underway.

“This latest work will see thousands more homes and businesses across County Durham and beyond benefitting from high speed fibre broadband.”

Last April eight councils agreed a deal with BT to extend high speed fibre broadband.

For details visit the website www.durham.gov.uk