RURAL residents are celebrating after a breakthrough in a four-year campaign to install fibre broadband for some of the district’s most remote properties.

Superfast fibre broadband has been installed in homes in the Stonehaugh area after a community campaign was launched.

Former chairwoman of Wark Parish Council Anne Hutchinson called for faster broadband to be installed in 2016 with the fear that Stonehaugh and the surrounding area would be left behind.

The Warksburn Community Fibre Project was set up with the aim of bringing an end to years of dealing with painfully slow internet speeds or inflated monthly costs for a satellite service.

Wark parish councillor Steve Batey headed the project to connect rural residents with better broadband. “The houses in Stonehaugh are still pretty much on dial up and it’s so far behind the times,” he said.

“Me and my neighbour contacted Northumberland County Council who told us to apply for the broadband voucher scheme.

“We spoke to some providers, but couldn’t find an affordable deal that worked for the area.”

The group later sought help from a Northumberland-based broadband provider Alncom.

Coun. Batey explained: “Alncom came to a meeting in Wark Town Hall and they said they were willing to take a punt in putting the system in and they could get a route to Stonehaugh through air fibre.”

Years of searching for a suitable broadband service came to an end earlier this year when the first houses in the Stonehaugh surrounding area were connected.

“The residents have been saying how better the broadband is,” Coun. Batey added. Plans to connect the village’s other homes are hoped to be completed by the end of the year.