PEOPLE in Darwen can receive next-generation broadband after an iconic chimney was transformed into a giant antenna.

Internet firm 6G has joined forces with Pro Light Concepts by using the chimney tower at its Olive Lane base to deliver superfast broadband to homes and businesses in the area.

It is the first transmission site of its kind in Darwen with more set to be secured, said bosses at the firm.

Unlike traditional internet providers, 6G uses air fibre technology instead of underground cables to deliver its broadband service through the air.

Using tall buildings as transmission sites, 6G said it could provide speeds in excess of 100Mbps, where the average speed in Blackburn and Darwen was between two and 5Mbps to residents and businesses.

Linda Szafar, enterprise relationship manager at 6G, said: “We are really excited about this link-up with Pro Light and the prospect of delivering low-cost superfast broadband to Darwen. We believe we can assist in regenerating the town because fast connectivity is a big attraction for businesses looking to move into the area.”

Mayor of Darwen Town Council Trevor Maxfield performed the official ‘switch-on’ to launch the link-up.

He said: “It is great to see two East Lancashire businesses working together on a project that will benefit the whole community.”

Pro Light provides lighting and sound systems for nightclubs, theatres, hotels and public buildings in the UK and abroad.

MD Andrew Jeffrey said: “As a business we have suffered from really slow internet speeds over the past 10 years so the arrival of 6G is a major boost for us and the rest of the Darwen business community.

“We can have 10 to 12 members of staff using the internet at any one time while they are talking to customers on the phone.

“They might need to download a manual to give customers advice but that used to take an age under the old system as we were typically getting speeds of 6mbps or slower.

“Now we are getting 30mbps which has speeded up our entire operation.”