23
January
2014
|
00:00
Europe/Amsterdam

Connecting Cumbria rolling out fibre broadband up to nine months early

Millom, Hackthorpe and Cockermouth next to ‘go live’; 

Partnership will make high-speed broadband available to 15,000 Cumbrian homes and businesses this summer
Big steps forward have been confirmed in the rollout programme for fibre broadband
in Cumbria, which is running ahead of schedule in some parts of the county.

The latest communities to receive high-speed fibre broadband as part of the
multi-million pound Connecting Cumbria programme were confirmed today by
partners Cumbria County Council and BT.

The first homes and businesses in Millom and Hackthorpe will ‘go live’ before
the end of March - around nine months ahead of schedule. At the same time fibre
will be available in Cockermouth for the first time. These developments will result in
around 4,000 more premises able to connect to the new network.
Work is also progressing to bring fibre broadband to Allonby, Bardsea,

Brampton, Harrington, Hayton, Southwaite and Wetheral, with the first street-side
fibre cabinets due to get switched on in these communities at the end of
March.

They will be followed in June by Cleator Moor, Dalston, Egremont, Milnthorpe,
Sedbergh and Windermere, when the first homes and businesses there will be able
to connect to the new network. Engineers will complete the upgrades in these
communities during the summer, with around 15,000 premises set to benefit.
People can follow progress on the rollout via the Connecting Cumbria website
– www.connectingcumbria.org - and on twitter.

Connecting Cumbria will enable 93 per cent of Cumbrian properties to have
access to high-speed fibre broadband by the end of 2015 and other properties to
get speeds of at least two megabits per second.

The Connecting Cumbria partnership builds on BT’s commercial rollout, which
will bring high-speed broadband to more than 112,000 homes and businesses
across Cumbria by the end of this Spring.

Paul Cretney, BT’s project manager for Connecting Cumbria, said: “Despite
the recent spell of bad weather, which has made engineering work more difficult in
some areas, the Connecting Cumbria rollout has been progressing extremely well.

“As a result, we’ve been able to bring a number of communities forward in the
programme, which we’re expecting to really gain momentum as the year
progresses.”

The following communities originally scheduled to ‘go live’ during 2015 will
now be upgraded before the end of 2014: Brough, Calthwaite, Greystoke,
Hallbankgate, Kirkbride, Kirkby Stephen, Kirkby Thore, Lamplugh, Longtown, Low
Ireby, Morland, Newby Bridge, Orton, Ravensworth, Seascale, Silloth and Wigton.

Councillor David Southward, Cumbria County Council's Cabinet member
responsible for economic development and lead member for Connecting Cumbria,
said: “We have made a very good start in delivering the infrastructure necessary to
provide access to superfast broadband. Being ahead of schedule only three months
into delivery is great news and as we move forward in 2014 we will see a real push
to get things up and running in other parts of the county. To do this we will continue
to focus on the planned roll-out and also work alongside communities to explore
new technologies and potential sources of additional funding to expand the network
further and increase the numbers who can access superfast broadband.”

Connecting Cumbria also announced that Broughton-in-Furness, Caldbeck
and Sedgwick will be enabled before the end of 2014, with Crosthwaite, Gosforth
and Grange-over-Sands to follow next year.

When an area has ‘gone live’, people wanting to enjoy faster fibre broadband
can place an order with an internet service provider (ISP) of their choice. There’s a
wide range of ISPs to choose from as the network is open to all providers on
an open, wholesale basis, thereby ensuring competitive prices.

Homes and businesses will be able to enjoy download speeds of up to 80
megabits per second (Mbps) and uploads of up to 20Mbps*.

So far, Connecting Cumbria has brought faster fibre broadband to within
reach of more than 12,500 homes and businesses across the county.

Note to Editors
*These are the top wholesale speeds available from Openreach to all service providers; speeds offered by service providers may vary.

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 high-speed 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.

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.

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 www.communities.gov.uk/erdf
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.

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 per cent 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