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High-speed broadband boosts flood-hit businesses in Pooley Bridge

Press Release   •   May 10, 2016 16:52 BST

Connecting Cumbria announced today that high-speed fibre broadband is now available to 235 homes and businesses in Pooley Bridge, providing a vital boost for local people and firms as they recover from the winter floods.

The Pooley Bridge project posed a number of challenges. Engineers from Openreach – BT’s local network business – had to clear flooded ducts in order to run a new fibre cable 18km underground from Pooley Bridge to serve communities nearby, such as Glenridding, and to install a new green fibre broadband cabinet in the village.

Jill Mackey, clerk of Barton parish council, which includes Pooley Bridge, explained what the arrival of fibre broadband means to the parish council and the local community. “Barton Parish Council is about to go live with a new community website - improved broadband will greatly assist with this, particularly as we have learnt the need for improved and rapid communications following the recent floods,” she said.

“It will also be of great benefit to local businesses as they recover from the fallout following the floods."

One local businessperson looking forward to the benefits of having fibre broadband is the owner of Bea Ray Garden Designs. Bea Ray said: “This announcement is very good news. I currently receive speeds of under 3Mbps with a very basic broadband service.Having high speed fibre broadband will make it much easier to do things like updating the business website, uploading documents, sending and receiving high resolution files, and communicating with clients up and down the country.

“I work from home and have two young children.When the whole family want to use their devices online simultaneously this causes us real problems so I welcome the arrival of high-speed fibre broadband to stop the bickering!

“In terms of the community at Pooley Bridge, we are very much off the beaten track; modern life relies on access to good and reliable broadband services. Our community needs this upgrade to maintain access to key services.”

Since October 2013, the Connecting Cumbria project – a partnership between Cumbria County Council and BT - has enabled more than 500 fibre broadband cabinets, with more being switched on every day. More than 120,000 households and businesses now have access to fibre broadband as a result of the project.

David Southward, Cumbria County Council’s Cabinet member responsible for economic development, said: “It’s great to see Connecting Cumbria reaching homes and businesses in communities however small or remote they may be and overcoming flood damage to deliver a real benefit to them when they need it the most. It reflects our ultimate goal which is to provide every resident, business, organisation and visitor with access to high-speed fibre broadband.”

Mike Blackburn, BT North West regional director, said: “There is no quick and easy way to get superfast broadband to many rural areas. It involves challenges above and beyond those you would encounter in a more urban environment, but we are making strong progress. Together with our commercial programme, we have already reached nearly 224,000 homes and businesses with our fibre network in Cumbria - and we are going further.”

When an area has gone ‘live’ for fibre, people need to contact their service provider to upgrade as it doesn’t happen automatically. Because the network is ‘open’, they have a choice of fibre broadband providers, with more than 140 now operating in the UK.

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Press contact:Please contact the BT Regional Press Office on 0800 085 0660. All our news releases can be found at www.btplc.com/news

Notes to Editors:

About Connecting Cumbria

The Connecting Cumbria Programme’s ambition will, by a combination of commercial investment and gap funding, enable access to Next Generation Access (NGA) broadband to 95per cent of Cumbrian homes and businesses when added to the private sector’s commercial rollout.And Connecting Cumbria is providing two thirds of its rollout with speeds of more than 50 mbps.

Connecting Cumbria will ensure maximum coverage is achieved from available resources, demonstrating maximum value for money. Cumbria County Council has a continuing commitment to expand NGA broadband services and make NGA broadband service available to additional areas across Cumbria as funding becomes available.

About ERDF

The project is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). The Department for Communities and Local Government is the managing authority for the ERDF 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

About BDUK

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

    About BT

    BT’s purpose is to use the power of communications to make a better world. It is one of the world’s leading providers of communications services and solutions, serving customers in more than 170 countries. Its principal activities include the provision of networked IT services globally; local, national and international telecommunications services to its customers for use at home, at work and on the move; broadband, TV and internet products and services; and converged fixed-mobile products and services.As of 31 March 2016, BT consisted principally of six customer-facing lines of business: BT Global Services, BT Business, BT Consumer, EE, BT Wholesale and Openreach.With effect from 1 April 2016, the group has been reorganised and the customer-facing lines of business are now:Global Services, Business and Public Sector, Consumer, EE, Wholesale and Ventures, and Openreach.

    For the year ended 31 March 2015, BT Group’s reported revenue was £17,979m with reported profit before taxation of £2,645m.

    British Telecommunications plc (BT) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of BT Group plc and encompasses virtually all businesses and assets of the BT Group. BT Group plc is listed on stock exchanges in London and New York.

    For more information, visit www.btplc.com

    All news releases can be accessed at our web site: http://www.btplc.com/News