Sunderland on track to be superfast broadband city

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ALMOST every home in Sunderland will soon be covered by superfast broadband.

The city is leading the competition in its bid to provide wall-to-wall broadband coverage.

Reports earlier this month suggested the Government is set to miss its target to build a high-speed network by 2015.

This has proven a major setback, particularly for rural areas, but Sunderland City Council’s commitment to private sector contracts means the city is still on track to lead the way in the UK with its superfast connectivity.

Sunderland has only 55 per cent coverage at present, but leader of Sunderland City Council, Coun Paul Watson said: “We are confident that by the end of this year more that 99 per cent of households in the city will have access to superfast broadband.

“This connectivity has been achieved through working with our partners in the private sector, and Sunderland City Council’s proven experience in creating the right environment to attract private investment around IT infrastructure and support networks.

“This successful approach means that we are not dependent on funding from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport or affected by any delays in the Government procurement process.”

Exchanges at East Herrington, Fencehouses, Houghton and Hetton have already been enabled by BT, with work almost complete at Sunderland North and Washington, bringing around 43,820 residential 
properties online, as well as approximately 2,000 businesses.

Sunderland has been praised by BT’s managing director of next generation access, Bill Murphy, who said: “Sunderland City Council’s vision and ambition has created the right environment for BT to make significant investment in the city’s infrastructure.”

Also delighted with the city’s progress towards a comprehensive superfast network is David Dunn, chief executive officer of Sunderland Software City.

He said: “In 2012, having the right communications network is as important to a city as the right energy or transport networks, and assets like superfast broadband, the city Cloud and the Sunderland Software Centre 
are crucial to Sunderland’s ongoing success 
nurturing, attracting and retaining world class software businesses.

“A recent report by a parliamentary select committee warned of areas of the country being left behind by uneven broadband provision, but Sunderland is ahead of the game and delivering on modern communications for residents and businesses alike.”

Twitter: @sunechomark