A new full fibre broadband network is now available to 885 homes and businesses in part of Teesdale through a rural connectivity scheme.

The properties in Barnard Castle, Middleton-in-Teesdale and Winston are benefitting from the first phase of the government’s Project Gigabit programme.

GoFibre, which was awarded the £6.6m contract last Autumn, started construction of the broadband network in April after a six-month period of surveying and planning with Durham County Council and the government’s executive agency Building Digital UK (BDUK).

The 885 homes and businesses can now access the best broadband speeds and reliability available, through the new full fibre broadband network, with the first connections to GoFibre customers being made in the last few weeks.

Darlington and Stockton Times: John Boocock, from Middleton-in-Teesdale

Construction of the network in Teesdale will be continuing until 2025 as GoFibre makes its way across the area. Once complete, more than 4,000 local residents and businesses will be able to access gigabit-capable broadband.

One of the residents in the area to benefit is John Boocock from Middleton-in-Teesdale. After being plagued with terrible connectivity for as long as he can remember, he was one of the first to sign up for full fibre after hearing about the contract being awarded.

“I need a fast and reliable connection that’s suitable for large file transfers as I mix and master music for people across the UK and America," he said. "Before I had full fibre, it would be very time consuming to complete most tasks. And on a bad day, a real struggle.

“Full fibre works perfectly with the server set-up I use to store all my files so I couldn’t be happier with my new and improved set-up. It has been game-changing for me.”

More than half of UK households (52 per cent) now have access to full fibre services, but these are most common in urban areas.

Neil Conaghan, chief executive officer at GoFibre, said: “It is with great pleasure that we announce the first customers have been connected to our full fibre broadband network in Teesdale.

“Through our partnership with the UK government and Durham County Council, the completion of this first phase marks a significant step forward in our aim to close the digital divide across rural areas, many of whom, like John, have faced years of persistent digital connectivity problems.

“To any locals or businesses interested in learning more about how our network can benefit them, please do get in touch or register. We appreciate your patience during the ongoing construction and are excited to continue to bring the benefits of full fibre connectivity to even more homes and businesses in Teesdale.”

Minister for Data and Digital Infrastructure, Sir John Whittingdale added: "I’m delighted to see the first local residents in Teesdale being able to plug into the fastest broadband speeds on the market thanks to our Project Gigabit investment.

“Working with GoFibre, we are set to deliver next generation broadband to thousands more homes and businesses from Barnard Castle to West Auckland, ensuring people have access to the fastest connections fit for the future."

Households and businesses in Teesdale can register their interest in GoFibre’s full fibre broadband services by visiting gofibre.co.uk/register.