More than 800 hard-to-reach premises across Barnard Castle, Middleton-in-Teesdale and Winston can now access GoFibre’s network as the altnet completes phase one of its Project Gigabit contract.
GoFibre was awarded the £6.6m contract last Autumn and began construction in April after a six-month period of surveying and planning with Durham County Council BDUK.
Construction will continue until 2025 and once complete, more than 4,000 local residents and businesses will be able to access gigabit-capable broadband.
CEO Neil Conaghan said: “The completion of this first phase marks a significant step forward in our aim to close the digital divide across rural areas.”
Minister for Data and Digital Infrastructure, Sir John Whittingdale, said: "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."
Cllr Susan McDonnell, Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for digital, customer services and procurement, added: “Access to a fast and stable broadband connection brings so many benefits; it’s a must for people studying or working from home; and from a social perspective it opens up opportunities for people to connect with others.”
GoFibre is also working with BDUK and Northumberland County Council to construct a new fibre network in North Northumberland following a second contract award win last year.