A SCHEME to bring hyper-fast broadband to the Allen Valleys has moved a step closer.

The ambitious £100,000 project was launched by community group Broadband 4 Allen Valleys (B4AV) last year, in a bid to improve internet connections for 400 households and businesses.

The volunteer-led group enlisted support from local businesses and landowners, and raised funds to install the new technology, which reaches speeds of up to one gigabyte per second.

Now, more than half the proposed route for the new broadband network through the Allen Valleys has been agreed with landowners, while negotiations are ongoing for the remainder of the route.

The core network will cover 81 miles, looping around the West Allen and East Allen Valleys, and through Langley. It will connect with the existing fibre network running between Carlisle and Newcastle.

Sarah Blackett-Ord, of the Whitfield Estate, said: “I am very excited indeed to think that this area will at last have proper effective fast broadband.

“As many people in the Allen Valleys know, running a business here without adequate broadband is a nightmare.

“The Whitfield Estate has been desperate to get better broadband for its tenants and businesses for years.

“B4AV have been fantastic, supportive, informative and sensitive to local needs. Hopefully we can proceed with the project shortly and get the service we all need so much.”

B4AV’s Mike Robinson said the group was offering a discount voucher scheme to help homes and businesses with installation costs.

Businesses can claim up to £3,000 against the cost of connection, either individually or as part of a group project.

Residents can benefit from the scheme as part of a group project which also includes businesses, and can claim for a voucher up to a value of £500.

For more information, visit www.b4av.org