Broadband speeds take off in Appleby

The launch of high-speed fibre broadband in the Eden town of Appleby has got off to a soaraway start, with local air cadets backing the benefits faster internet connections will bring.

Representatives from Connecting Cumbria, the partnership between Cumbria County Council and BT, joined local MP for Penrith and the Borders, Rory Stewart, at the local squadron headquarters of the Air Training Corps at Appleby Grammar School, where faster internet speeds will help with the delivery of the air cadets’ online training programme.

The cadets’ communication and management system - BADER - provides a SharePoint facility to distribute and store the many documents required to disseminate information to almost 1,000 squadrons nationally. Cadets also take various tests online to confirm their progress through the training programme.

Lt Col Mike Gerrish, who is the civilian chairman of the 2192 Appleby Squadron ATC, said: “A fast and reliable broadband service is essential to our modern training programme. The staff and the 30 cadets at the Appleby Squadron are delighted that our use of the online systems will be enhanced by the availability of superfast broadband. Cadets undertaking the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award also use an online facility to keep track of their progress and record their evidence.”

It is not just the air cadets who will benefit – the school itself will be able to enjoy an uplift in its broadband and residents and businesses will also be able to have far faster download and upload speeds if they switch to fibre.

Appleby now has two fibre-enabled cabinets up and running, meaning 591 households and businesses can currently benefit if they make the move onto a fibre-based internet service. A further eight fibre cabinets are due to be deployed in and around the town by summer 2015.

The investment in connecting the town to the fibre network will also benefit other communities along the A66 corridor which can tap into the new fibre connection. These include Kirkby Stephen, Kirkby Thore, Culgaith, Langwathby, Morland and Brough. communities around Appleby such as Colby, Brampton and Great Asby will also benefit from fibre for years to come after it is delivered in 2015.

Elsewhere in Eden, Connecting Cumbria is building on the work done since the county’s first fibre cabinet went live in the village of Yanwath in October 2013. BT’s engineers will be working to deliver fibre to areas including Orton, Pooley Bridge, Shap and Glenridding in 2015.

Councillor David Southward, Cumbria County Council's Cabinet member responsible for economic development, lead member for Connecting Cumbria and ERDF funding, said: “Before Connecting Cumbria came along, Appleby was cut off from superfast broadband. It was too far from the main fibre network at Penrith and the commercial sector had decided that there weren’t enough customers to merit the cost of installing fibre all the way out there. This programme has changed all that. We’ve reached out and delivered a fibre lifeline into the heart of the town. All the communities along the way will benefit from this work too, and we’re extending the fibre network both for now and the future.”

Mike Blackburn, BT’s regional director for the North West, said: “Jobs and education for young people are vital in places like Appleby. The town may be geographically remote but high-speed fibre broadband brings with it a future that is connected, close and immediate. The engineers from BT’s local network business, Openreach, have worked hard to bring those opportunities to this rural centre and to the neighbouring villages.”

Rory Stewart, MP for Penrith and the Borders, said: "Eden is the country’s most sparsely populated district, with some of the most remote properties and challenging terrain for engineers to tackle. By installing a fibre connection to Appleby, Connecting Cumbria has laid down a main channel from which lots of other connections can be made. It presents exciting opportunities for businesses, home workers, health providers, families and lots of other community groups.”

Picture captions: Picture 1: Standing L-R in front of the 2192 Appleby Squadron Air Training Corps are Brendan Dick, Managing Director BT Regions; Rory Stewart MP; Cllr Libby Bateman, County Councillor for Kirkby Stephen representing Eden Local Committee.
Picture 2: A Connecting Cumbria van outside the HQ of 2192 Appleby Squadron ATC
Appleby Picture 3: Cadets working inside
Appleby Picture 4: Inside the HQ, captions as Picture 1

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Notes to Editors:

About Connecting Cumbria
The Connecting Cumbria Project will build upon BT and other providers’ existing commercial investment to ensure at least 93 per cent 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.

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