£1.3m loan scheme for broadband

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Approval for a £1.3m loan scheme to fund the final pieces in the county’s broadband jigsaw has been given by the council.

The iNorthumberland loan scheme, the first of its kind in the country, has been set up to allow inward investment and encourage wireless and satellite broadband operators to set up and deliver services in the county.

The investment will focus on areas that will not benefit from the recently announced contract with BT, which aims to deliver superfast broadband services to 91 per cent of the properties in Northumberland.

The council said the loan scheme will allow three broadband operators to take out local authority to ensure the remaining nine per cent of the county, often in the most rural areas, can also be covered.

The three companies that will be involved in the programme are Briskona wireless broadband operator and satellite broadband operators QSat and Avonline.

These three companies will take out loans from the county council over three years to develop their businesses.

The companies will sign up customers for their broadband services and then access the county council loan.

Kate Roe, deputy chief executive for Northumberland County Council, said: “The contract with BT means that 91 per cent of properties in the county will have access to superfast broadband speeds in the next few years.

“This scheme will ensure that the rest of the county can benefit too and help us to secure maximum coverage for Northumberland.”

Go to www.inorthumberland.org.uk for more information.