Cumbria’s multi-million pound high-speed broadband project has passed an important milestone a month ahead of schedule.
More than 10,000 homes and businesses across the county are now able to connect to faster fibre broadband as a result of Connecting Cumbria.
Partners BT and Cumbria County Council today confirmed the challenging milestone had been passed at the beginning of December – a month earlier than originally planned.
By the end of 2015, Connecting Cumbria will have helped to extend fibre broadband access to 93 per cent of county properties - with the remaining premises unable to benefit from fibre having access to at least 2Mbps - making Cumbria one of the best connected places in Europe, and helping to break down Britain's digital divide between rural and urban areas.
Councillor David Southward, Cumbria County Council Cabinet member for Economic Development, said: “I’m delighted the roll-out of superfast broadband has passed another important milestone. More and more homes and businesses across the county are getting access to high speed broadband, thanks to the significant investment being made through the Connecting Cumbria project.”
Paul Cretney, BT’s project manager for Connecting Cumbria, said: “Rolling out fibre broadband is a huge engineering operation, but work is progressing
extremely well. We’re thrilled to be delivering high-speed broadband as an early Christmas present in some parts of the county.”
Connecting Cumbria is in addition to BT’s commercial roll-out which will bring faster fibre broadband within reach of 92,000 homes and businesses across
Cumbria by the end of Spring 2014 as part of its £2.5 billion investment programme.
As part of Connecting Cumbria, fibre broadband has been delivered earlier than planned in parts of Lazonby, Rockcliffe, Ulverston and Walney, as well as in
parts of Dalton-in-Furness, Maryport, Penrith, Whitehaven and Workington not already covered by BT’s commercial rollout.
The upgrades to superfast broadband do not happen automatically. People need to contact their internet service provider to request the service. A choice of suppliers is available, thereby ensuring competitive pricing, so customers are advised to shop around.
Bardsea, Barrow and Cockermouth will be next to benefit from Connecting Cumbria in January 2014, with Allonby, Brampton, Harrington, Hayton, Southwaite and Wetheral earmarked for upgrades also early in the new year.
To find out about the latest areas to be switched on to super-fast broadband, follow progress via Twitter @Connect_Cumbria
Notes for editors
The Connecting Cumbria Project will build upon BT and other providers’ existing commercial investment to ensure at least 93% of Cumbrian homes & businesses can access fibre broadband by the end of 2015, with the aspiration that all Cumbrian properties have speeds of at least 2Mbps.This includes working with some of Cumbria’s remotest communities to extend the fibre network through innovative community projects in the hardest to reach areas.
BT’s network will be open to all communications providers on an equal wholesale basis and so Cumbria consumers and businesses will benefit from a highly competitive market, in turn bringing greater choice and affordable prices.
The Department for Communities and Local Government is the managing authority for the European Regional Development Fund Programme, which is one of the funds established by the European Commission to help local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support local businesses and create jobs. For more information visit https://www.gov.uk/erdf-programmes-progress-and-achievements
Superfast Britain is a Government programme of investment in broadband and communication infrastructure across the UK. Run by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, this investment helps businesses to grow, creates jobs and will make Britain more competitive in the global race. The portfolio is comprised of three elements:
• £780m to extend superfast broadband to 95% of the UK by 2017
• £150m to provide high speed broadband to businesses in 22 cities
• £150m to improve quality and coverage of mobile phone and basic data network services
Administered on behalf of Government by Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK), Superfast Britain is transforming Britain by promoting growth, enabling skills and learning, and improving quality of life.
For further information: https://www.gov.uk/broadband-delivery-uk