The Connecting Cumbria programme has marked a major milestone in its roll-out of high-speed fibre broadband in the county with the 500th green fibre broadband cabinet ‘going live’ in Main Street, Kirkoswald.
More than 118,000 homes and businesses have been brought within reach of the new cabinets which provide fibre broadband since Connecting Cumbria’s first cabinet was installed in October 2013.
Sixty three fibre cabinets are now operating in the Eden District thanks to the programme, enabling more than 11,800 households and business to access fibre broadband, and more will be rolled out during the year.
Businesses in Kirkoswald have welcomed the 500th cabinet, located in Main Street as a fantastic boost to the area.
Alan Collinson, owner of the Fetherston Arms pub in the village, has recently had fibre broadband installed in the pub and is already seeing the big difference the superfast speeds are bringing to him and his business. Alan said: “Before superfast fibre we were only getting speeds of around 2Mbps in the pub, now we’re getting blistering speeds of over 70Mbps!
“Contractors working in the area have been coming in to use our wi-fi, which is increasing our passing trade and the regulars have been commenting on how much faster the wi-fi is since we upgraded.
“Our community no longer needs to feel like it’s missing out on what lots of other parts of the county have and can take advantage of lots of online content and services like watching TV online.”
Tony Borgogno, of the Crown Inn, is looking forward to being able to do more online with his family when his high-speed fibre broadband is installed.
Tony explained how fibre broadband will benefit his family. “One of my sons is doing a university course and the faster speeds will mean he can take part in web-based learning from home,” he said. “When my other children get back from school each day and pick up their online devices then we do struggle with our current broadband. I’m looking forward to the arguments going away once they can all use the internet at once!
“The other good thing is I shopped around to upgrade to the fibre service and managed to get a deal which means it’ll actually be cheaper each month than it was before fibre!”.
David Southward, Cumbria County Council’s Cabinet member responsible for economic development, said: “It’s a fantastic milestone to reach 500 new fibre cabinets in Cumbria and we continue to deliver more each day. The rollout of superfast broadband across Cumbria is bringing immense opportunities to services, businesses and residents and the value of fast broadband connections to businesses and homes in the county cannot be overstated.”
Sue Quinn, chair of Kirkoswald Parish Council, added: "High speed broadband is very welcome to the village of Kirkoswald and we look forward to the benefits that it brings."
Mike Blackburn, BT North West regional director, said: “The rollout in Cumbria is continuing at pace and it’s great to see villages like Kirkoswald benefitting from such great speeds. Fibre broadband enables businesses to thrive, especially in more remote communities. For example, tourism can be boosted by a business providing free wi-fi or being able to showcase itself to the world through high res images on its website; or a firm might use the Cloud to store files and IP telephony to cut down on costs.
“Together with our commercial programme we have already reached nearly 220,000 homes and businesses with our fibre network in Cumbria - and we are going further.”