Residents of the South Tyne Valley will soon have a fibre broadband service following the launch of a launch of a community share offer.
Thanks to the scheme, fibre optic cables are now being laid along an old railway track from Park Village to Slaggyford.
The network will offer superfast internet speeds and faster downloads of TV programmes to residents and businesses in the South Tyne Valley. Funding from the government through Broadband Delivery UK is paying for part of the work.
On 8 June, Cybermoor Networks launched a community share offer to raise the remainder, £150,000, by 31 July.
People can invest £100 for a minimum of three years, which is eligible for a 30% tax rebates through the Enterprise Investment Scheme.
Daniel Heery, Cybermoor project manager, said: “This is a great opportunity for people to invest in infrastructure that will bring benefits to the whole community.
“A fibre optic cable network along the valley will provide faster, more reliable connections, helping local people get more from the internet.”
Cybermoor was set up in 2001 in response to the government’s Wired-up Communities initiative, which aimed to connect disadvantaged communities to the internet.
This was at a time when first generation broadband was not available in rural areas.
Alston Moor was selected due to its remote location and the distance people had to travel to access basic services. The original funding provided computers for households, wireless broadband for homes and businesses and a community website.
Cybermoor Ltd was set up in 2003 as the UK’s first broadband community co-op to develop these activities and Cybermoor Services Ltd was established in 2004 to provide support for other rural communities, using the experience and expertise developed from the Cybermoor project.
Cybermoor Networks Ltd is a co-operative, with directors elected by members, each of whom has one vote. It works in partnership with Briskona, an ISP which is part of Spain’s Eurona Telecom.
Its ethos is to keep control of this vital digital infrastructure within the community.