High-speed boost for 1,600 homes and businesses in Aspatria thanks to Connecting Cumbria partnership

Six surrounding villages also now linked up to the fibre broadband network.

High-speed fibre broadband is now available to more than 1,600 homes and businesses in Aspatria.

Engineers from Openreach – BT’s local network business - have switched on six new green fibre broadband roadside cabinets in the town.

Hundreds of households and businesses have already joined the high-speed revolution – with around 20 per cent of residents in Aspatria signing up to a superfast service since the arrival of the first fibre cabinet last year.

Openreach engineers have also worked hard to make fibre available to more than 900 premises in the six surrounding rural villages of Baggrow, Plumbland, Harriston, Bothel, Westnewton and Gilcrux.

Since October 2013, the Connecting Cumbria project – a partnership between Cumbria County Council and BT - has enabled more than 500 fibre broadband cabinets, with more being switched on every day. More than 118,000 households and businesses now have access to fibre as a result of the project.

One local business looking forward to the benefits of having fibre is Childsplay, a soft play centre, based in the centre of Aspatria. Manager Alan Hudson said: “Improved broadband speeds will help to greatly reduce the time spent on internet-based activities, such as website maintenance, responding to enquiries and general online business-related working.

“One of the most frequent requests we get from parents is access to wi-fi so they’re able to get online while their children are playing. Upgrading to fibre will make it much faster and accessible to more customers at any one time.

“Superfast broadband coming to Aspatria is great news. It will ensure people can access key online services, provide a host of opportunities to residents and is key to encouraging new businesses to the area.”

David Southward, Cumbria County Council’s Cabinet member responsible for economic development, said: “It is reassuring to see Connecting Cumbria reaching homes and businesses in communities however small or remote they may be. It reflects our ultimate goal which is to provide every resident, business, organisation and visitor with access to superfast fibre broadband.”

Mike Blackburn, BT North West regional director, said: “Superfast broadband is now seen as an essential rather than a luxury. Superfast broadband provides the cornerstone for prosperous communities, helping local people build their skills and knowledge whilst encouraging the creation of new businesses and jobs - and then helping to keep those businesses and jobs in the local communities.

“There is no quick and easy way to get superfast broadband to rural areas. It involves challenges above and beyond those you would encounter in a more urban environment, but we are making solid progress. 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.”


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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 per cent of Cumbrian homes and businesses when added to the private sector’s 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.

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

    About BT

    BT’s purpose is to use the power of communications to make a better world. It is one of the world’s leading providers of communications services and solutions, serving customers in more than 170 countries. Its principal activities include the provision of networked IT services globally; local, national and international telecommunications services to its customers for use at home, at work and on the move; broadband, TV and internet products and services; and converged fixed-mobile products and services. Following the acquisition of EE on 29 January 2016, BT consists principally of six customer-facing lines of business: BT Global Services, BT Business, BT Consumer, EE, BT Wholesale and Openreach.

    For the year ended 31 March 2015, BT Group’s reported revenue was £17,979m with reported profit before taxation of £2,645m.

    British Telecommunications plc (BT) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of BT Group plc and encompasses virtually all businesses and assets of the BT Group. BT Group plc is listed on stock exchanges in London and New York.

    For more information, visit www.btplc.com.

    All news releases can be accessed at our web site: http://www.btplc.com/News