Cumbria’s digital revolution was welcomed to the rural community of Langwathby today (Tuesday 25 August) by Rory Stewart MP, when he visited Lambkins day nursery at a working farm in Langwathby.
Connecting Cumbria has just installed the village’s first fibre broadband street cabinet, serving the centre of the community. Local households and businesses can now place orders for the high-speed technology by contacting their internet service provider. A further three cabinets are planned for the village later in the year.
Rory Stewart, MP for Penrith and the Border, said: “Bringing superfast broadband to Cumbria continues to be a major undertaking, and I’d like to congratulate Connecting Cumbria and all those involved in achieving impressive targets and rolling out broadband to as many communities and businesses as possible.
“It’s brilliant to see Langwathby as one of the latest of Penrith and the Border’s communities to be connected. I’m particularly pleased to visit the Lambkins nursery, and to chat to the Esh Group about their new housing development and their understanding of the need for new houses to be connected.
“Today’s visit highlights the benefits to all generations of living in a superfast community. Children, parents, grandparents and businesses all benefit from fibre broadband, and I want to see Langwathby as symbolic of why we want to encourage people to stay on in this part of Cumbria and enjoy the same benefits and speeds of urban areas, whilst bringing up their families in one of the most beautiful parts of the country.”
Connecting Cumbria, the partnership between Cumbria County Council and BT, is on average making high-speed fibre broadband available to an extra 3,900 Cumbrian homes and businesses every month. So far, more than 93,000 households and businesses are able to get faster internet speeds from 59 telephone exchange areas across the county. This is Phase 1 of the programme, which is due to be completed by the end of the year.
Councillor David Southward, Cumbria County Council’s cabinet member responsible for economic development, said: “The roll out of superfast broadband across Cumbria is bringing immense opportunities to services, businesses and residents. Our county council-led Connecting Cumbria project to build a fibre network around the county is ahead of schedule, literally connecting the county to the world.
“Fibre broadband will open the doors to countless business opportunities in the county, boosting the rural economy and supporting thriving local communities. Now is the time for people to talk to their internet service providers and check whether they can get access to fibre and look out for the best deals around. There’s some great opportunities to upgrade to fantastic speeds for not much money.”
Mike Blackburn, BT’s North West regional director, said: “BT’s superfast partnership with the County Council combined with our commercial roll-out of high-speed broadband means that 77% of Cumbria now has access to faster fibre broadband. Our Openreach engineers are working hard to reach almost 4,000 more premises every month.
“This first phase, totalling a £51 million investment, has so far seen two thirds of connections deliver more than 50Mbps and many are capable of speeds up to 80Mbps. This means that Cumbrians are now connected to wider opportunities for work, services and education globally.“
Geoff Woodcock, managing director of Esh Developments Ltd, said:”We’ve been building family homes throughout Cumbria for the past five years and now have outline consent for 14 homes in Langwathby. We always emphasise how important good broadband connectivity is for our developments, certainly on a par with electricity and water supplies, so we were extremely pleased to find that superfast broadband has now been brought to the village. This is so important to the families who wish to buy or occupy our homes and help retain and enhance the key services in such a beautiful village.”
Connecting Cumbria is running a Digital Inclusion roadshow, with meetings so far attended by up to 80 people, to spell out the benefits of fibre broadband for homes and for businesses and to show them how to sign up with a broadband service provider. See the Connecting Cumbria website for the next planned meetings www.connectingcumbria.org.uk
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 93% of Cumbrian homes and businesses by the end of 2015 when added to the commercial rollout.And Connecting Cumbria is providing two thirds of its rollout with speeds of more than 50 mbps.There is, in addition, a commitment that all Cumbrian properties will have access to speeds of at least 2Mbps by some means by the end of the programme. 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.
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.
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.
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:
For further information: https://www.gov.uk/broadband-delivery-uk