Ulverston is today (Thursday) celebrating the arrival of super-fast fibre broadband in the
The South Lakeland community is the first town in the county to be served with high-speed broadband by the Connecting Cumbria project, where there were previously no fibre connections.
It follows the village of Yanwath, which became the first rural community to be upgraded to faster fibre broadband, earlier this autumn.
Elsewhere, additional investment from Connecting Cumbria is bringing improved
broadband to more parts of Dalton, Penrith, Maryport, Workington and the city of Carlisle,
where new fibre infrastructure is connecting thousands of premises that are beyond the
reach of the existing commercial fibre network.
Ulverston is the first town to join the super-fast digital highway thanks to the
intervention of Connecting Cumbria and its programme of bringing super-fast broadband to
areas not deemed commercially viable under plans by the public sector.
Twelve out of the 18 street-side cabinets in the town, serving almost 4,000 homes
and businesses, have already been switched on to fibre broadband, and Cumbria
County Council and BT have confirmed the remaining cabinets will be switched on over the
coming weeks. In total, around 6,000 properties in Ulverston will have access to high-speed
broadband for the first time.
The new green cabinets are part of a wave of upgraded telecommunications
infrastructure being rolled out across Cumbria between now and the end of 2015. On
completion, some 93 per cent of Cumbrian properties will have access to super-fast
broadband with remaining properties unable to benefit from fibre having access to at least
2Mbps – making Cumbria one of the best connected places in Europe and breaking down
Britain’s digital divide between rural and urban areas.
To mark the launch in Ulverston, members of the Connecting Cumbria project team
were in Market Place on Thursday 21 November, to promote the service and advise people
about the benefits and availability of super-fast broadband.
Councillor David Southward, Cumbria County Council’s Cabinet member for
economic development, said: “I’m delighted that thousands of properties in Ulverston can
now enjoy super-fast broadband. Ulverston is the first area in the county to get an upgraded
exchange and it’s all been made possible by Connecting Cumbria, so this is an important
milestone for the project.”
Paul Cretney, BT’s project manager for Connecting Cumbria, said: “This is a huge
engineering project, but we’re extremely pleased with the progress so far. It’s great to see an
increasing number of people switching to the new fibre technology as the rollout gathers
pace, including here in Ulverston.
“The internet touches so many different parts of our lives these days. Having access
to high-speed broadband enables everyone to do things more quickly and effectively,
whether it’s a small business keeping in contact with its customers and suppliers, or
someone working from home, or a family with lots of different devices connected at the same time.”
Cumbrian households and businesses are able to order fibre broadband from a wide
range of internet service providers as the network is open to all providers on an open,
wholesale basis, thereby ensuring competitive prices.
Engineers from Openreach, BT’s network business, will lay around 3,900 kilometres
of optical fibre cable and install a total of around 550 new fibre broadband cabinets
throughout the county during the entire programme. It is estimated that engineers will
complete over a million man hours of work planning and building the network during the
lifetime of the project.
There are weekly updates on the rollout of super-fast fibre broadband available on
the Connecting Cumbria website: www.connectingcumbria.org
BT is contributing £15m to the project with £17.1m coming from Broadband
Development UK (BDUK), £13.7m from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)
and £5m through the Performance Reward Grant (PRG) from all councils in Cumbria. On top
of this, additional ERDF and PRG funding will contribute to the roll-out and marketing of fibre
broadband in Cumbria.
Notes for editors
The Connecting Cumbria Project will build upon BT and other providers’ existing commercial investment to ensure at least 93 per cent of Cumbrian homes and businesses can access superfast broadband of speeds of 24Mbps and above 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.
According to Ofcom, the county’s average downstream speed is currently 7.1Mbps whilst 18.8 per cent of the population receive less than 2Mbps.
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