Whitburn has become the first place on South Tyneside to benefit from a multi-million pound broadband programme.
Around 1,170 households and businesses in the village can now go superfast with Digital Durham and a further 1,390 to should follow before the end of the year.
Over the next six months engineers from Openreach, BT’s local network business, aim to roll-out the technology to a further 2,115 premises across the borough.
This is in addition to more than 57,000 already upgraded as part of BT’s own commercial roll-out of fibre technology in South Tyneside.
Coun Ed Malcolm, lead member for innovation and resources at South Tyneside Council, officially unveiled one of Whitburn’s new fibre broadband cabinets - at Range Villas.
He said: “This is a momentous occasion for residents and businesses in South Tyneside, who will reap the benefits of superfast broadband in the months to come thanks to our partnership with Digital Durham.
“The importance of fibre-based broadband cannot be overstated in this digital age and will provide a real boost for the local economy. Having faster connectivity to the Internet is crucial to business development and I am confident that this will be a major factor in the success of our local business community.
“Residents of all ages will also benefit from this superfast service allowing them to access information online for work, study or leisure much more quickly and conveniently.”
Digital Durham is a £34 million programme to transform broadband speeds for businesses and residents across ten North East areas.
Simon Roberson, BT’s regional partnership director for the North East, said: “From children doing their homework to caring for our elderly population and from social media to e-commerce and home entertainment – fast broadband is the critical enabler.
“I would encourage those who can already access fibre-based broadband to contact their service provider to arrange an upgrade.