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Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council

Big plans for helping our communities prosper

Better Broadband in Stockton

broadband

Many areas of Stockton have access to superfast broadband internet and a wide variety of digital services. However, some areas still suffer from slow speeds that limit residents to only the most basic of internet tasks.

The Council is committed to improving superfast internet access which will help improve the lives of Stockton residents and boost our local economy.

Working in partnership with our Tees Valley neighbours and Durham County Council, we have secured funding from Broadband Delivery UK (part of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport) to ensure that at least 95% of premises can obtain superfast broadband at speeds above 24Mbps. The funding will be used to improve and upgrade the network infrastructure in those areas that currently suffer from slow speeds. Find out more about the programme from Digital Durham.

 

Broadband Consultation

Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council is working with partner councils as part of the Digital Durham programme to improve broadband infrastructure. 

Digital Durham is working to provide superfast broadband in the council areas of County Durham, Gateshead, Sunderland, North Tyneside, South Tyneside and Tees Valley (Darlington, Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, Stockton-on-Tees, Redcar and Cleveland). We work in partnership with Broadband Delivery (BDUK), which is part of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).

Digital Durham contracts suppliers who receive public funding to provide superfast broadband in areas where it is either not available or included in any future commercial plans. Significant investments have already been made with Stockton Borough Council's funding, Tees Valley Combined Authority and central government match funding.  Decisions on where public funding can be spent are made following consultation and state aid approval. 

The public consultation stage of the Open Market Review is now open.  This primarily gives broadband wholesale providers an opportunity to comment on the classifications that have been allocated to areas from the data they have supplied.  It also gives residents, businesses and communities a chance to review, comment or query the current and planned coverage.

Durham County Council is the lead body for the Digital Durham programme and information on the consultation and how to respond can be found on their website.

 

Where and when

The most frequent question we get asked is “when will I get fibre broadband?” Use the Openreach postcode checker to confirm if your area can get fibre based broadband now, or the status of your area if fibre is not yet available. Register interest in obtaining connection to the openreach network via the Openreach website.

In February 2015 Virgin Media announced plans to invest £3 billion to extend coverage of their network to another 4 million homes and businesses in the UK providing broadband speeds of 152Mbps. If you live in an area where Virgin Media cable services are not currently available you can register your interest on the Virgin Media website.

Once available, fibre based broadband can be purchased from a range of internet service providers. It may be more affordable than you think. Broadband comparison sites can often help you find the best deals.

 

Getting a basic broadband service

Following the Government’s commitment to provide access to a minimum of 2Mbps download speeds to all premises, a satellite broadband subsidy scheme has been launched to help eligible residents. The scheme is available to premises with basic broadband (ADSL) download speeds of 2Mbps or less, and are not included in any current fibre broadband plans.

The satellite broadband subsidy scheme allows residents to apply for up to £350 towards the hardware and installation costs to get connected to satellite broadband. Eligible residents will still be required to pay any subsequent costs such as the monthly service charge. 

 

It's not always straightforward

We aren't able to tell you exactly when your premise will be upgraded for a number of reasons:

  • Some underground ducts will have been buried for years, so it's no surprise that surveys can sometimes unearth a few unanticipated challenges. Often ducts have collapsed or been damaged over the years; or the duct routes themselves may be full of existing cables or new ducts need to be built where they don't already exist. Obviously any problems have to be sorted out before any fibre can be laid to these ducts.
  • The majority of mains and back-up power supplies in exchanges will need to be upgraded, as the new equipment will place significant demands on them. Sometimes this means working with a local power company and co-ordinating what's needed.
  • The same can be said for each individual street cabinet as an additional unit (known as a DSLAM) also has power requirements.
  • Highway, planning and way-leave applications also need to be considered, and can sometimes delay work relating to a specific cabinet.
  • Broadband services to your property and those around you will run from a cabinet located fairly close by. Ofcom rules specify that cabinet level information cannot be made available until two weeks after a cabinet has been made live; and other Internet Service Providers (ISPs) have been notified by BT that they are able to supply broadband services to prospective customers from it.
  • Deployment is based upon existing infrastructure, planned commercial roll out, greatest demand and value for money. Suppliers will prioritise roll out according to all these criteria.
  • And finally, we have to contend with the British weather. If it gets too cold (below 3oC) it can create problems laying the concrete plinth for the cabinet to stand on.