Surfing at speed

DELIGHTED village residents will be surfing the internet at speed after they were included in a superfast broadband roll out.

Residents in Hartlepool’s surrounding villages have been left frustrated in the past by slow broadband speeds.

Elwick independent councillor Hilary Thompson has been chasing the issue for a while and is overjoyed after being told that the villages are to be included in a new broadband roll out later this year.

BT is introducing “fibre to the cabinet” technology which will see fibre-optic cable installed into BT street boxes and copper cable directly into the home.

The new technology will mean residents in Elwick and Hart Village should be able to access internet speeds of between 30 and 40 megabytes per second (mbps).

In the past they have struggled with speeds as slow as 0.3-0.5mbps.

Cllr Thompson, Hartlepool Borough Council’s portfolio holder for culture, leisure and tourism, told the Mail the introduction of the new technology is extremely good news for residents. She said: “I am delighted that at long last Hartlepool and the rural area are to have superfast fibre to the cabinet broadband.

“Speeds of as slow as 0.3-0.5 megabites per second have long been a problem for many rural areas and it has such an effect on rural businesses, people who work from home, students working online and people keeping in touch with friends and relatives.

“The residents who live furthest away from the cabinets may still struggle but we have now got an agreement to use community pay-back funding from the BT wind-turbine development at Red Gap on the A19 for improving rural broadband and this may help the furthest reaches of our ward.

“The introduction of the new broadband is a huge boost to the rural economy will improve quality of life for many people as the ability to communicate is massively improved.”

A spokesperson for BT confirmed that the villages will be included in the roll-out of super-fast broadband.

The residents in the villages are included in more than 138,000 homes and businesses to have access by the end of next year at the very latest.