Tim Farron MP hails arrival of ultrafast fibre broadband in three villages in South Lakeland

Largest deployment of Fibre-to-the-Premises in Cumbria Local business says Lake District internet is ‘on par with a big city like London’

Westmorland and Lonsdale MP and Leader of the Liberal Democrats, Tim Farron, praised the work of engineers when he visited Crosthwaite in South Lakeland to celebrate the completion of the largest ultrafast broadband project in Cumbria. Around 480 households and businesses in the three South Lakeland villages of Crosthwaite, Underbarrow and Brigsteer now have access to some of the fastest broadband speeds in the UK. Engineers from Openreach, BT’s local network business, installed 12km of overhead fibre cabling and pruned hundreds of trees en route in order to run the cable between telegraph poles.

The new Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) network is capable of delivering speeds up to 1 gigabit per second (Gbps) to households and businesses in the three villages.

Tim Farron, MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale, said: “This is great news for these villages. Access to top quality broadband is not only important for local residents, it is also vital for our local economy. It enables businesses based in villages in rural Cumbria to connect to the global economy, reaching new markets and helping to support local jobs.

“Investing in broadband infrastructure will give a real boost to the local economy. It is vital that ultrafast broadband continues to be rolled out across the county, so that we can compete on the international stage.”

One local business experiencing the benefits of having fibre is the Damson Dene Hotel in Crosthwaite. Jonathan Denby, managing director of the South Lakes Hotels, said: “It seems like a miracle that we have ultrafast broadband in the middle of the Lake District National Park.

“This is a really fantastic service and exactly what our guests need.It puts the Lake District on a par with a big city like London.We get so many guests from places like Tokyo and Beijing and although our railways may remind them of the Middle Ages, our internet is up there with the rest of the world."

Jonathan Harris, senior programme manager for Connecting Cumbria said: “Connecting Cumbria is doing everything it can to reach as many parts of Cumbria as possible. It’s great to hear time and time again how fibre broadband is helping businesses and residents across the county to do more.”

Jim Jackson, Openreach’s regional infrastructure delivery director for the North, added: “Cumbria has some very challenging terrain with some major obstacles to be overcome as we deliver high-speed fibre broadband to as many communities as possible.

“There is no quick and easy way to get fibre broadband to some rural areas, but we continue to look for the most innovative and best ways of doing this, like cutting back 12km of trees to enable us to reach these three villages in South Lakeland and provide the largest deployment of FTTP in the county.”

Paul Cretney, BT senior project manager for next generation access, said: “Fibre-to-the-Premises technology is just one of the ways we can overcome the challenges of reaching more remote, less populated communities like Crosthwaite, Underbarrow and Brigsteer and demonstrates our commitment to making high-speed fibre broadband as widely available as possible.

“They are just some of the communities across the county that have been connected up to high speed broadband using FTTP technology as part of the Connecting Cumbria project.”

Further ultrafast fibre broadband will be brought to the surrounding area during Summer and Autumn 2017.

More than 120,000 households and businesses now have access to fibre broadband as a result of the Connecting Cumbria project – a partnership between Cumbria County Council and BT. In addition to a significant number of properties able to get FTTP, it has also rolled out Fibre-to-the-Cabinet (FTTC) extensively, installing almost 600 fibre broadband cabinets across the county, with more being switched on every day.

Together with BT’s commercial programme, more than 220,000 homes and businesses now have access to the fibre broadband network in Cumbria.

When fibre broadband becomes available in an area, people need to contact their internet service provider to arrange an upgrade as it doesn’t happen automatically. Because the network is ‘open’, they have a wide choice of fibre broadband providers.

More than nine out of ten premises across the UK can already access superfast broadband speeds. For more details on the roll-out visit openreach.co.uk/whereandwhen. People not included in any current roll-out plans for fibre broadband can visit www.communityfibre.com to find out how to help bring superfast broadband to their local area.


Press contact:Please contact Janet Hare in the BT Regional Press Office on 0800 085 0660. All our news releases can be found at www.btplc.com/news

Notes to Editors:

About Connecting Cumbria

Since October 2013, the Connecting Cumbria project – a partnership between Cumbria County Council and BT - has enabled more than 590 fibre broadband cabinets, with more being switched on every day. More than 120,000 households and businesses now have access to fibre as a result of the project.

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 95 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. In the majority of cases this is already available or will shortly be made available via the deployment of fibre services. However, where properties cannot yet access this basic level of broadband services, there are subsidies available through the Broadband Delivery UK Better Broadband Scheme to support access to services using alternative technology – details of this scheme can be found on the Connecting Cumbria website.

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 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 180 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.BT consists of six customer-facing lines of business: Consumer, EE, Business and Public Sector, Global Services, Wholesale and Ventures, and Openreach.

    For the year ended 31 March 20161, BT Group’s reported revenue was £19,012m with reported profit before taxation of £2,907m.

    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.

    1The results for the period have been revised to reflect the outcome of the investigation into our Italian business. Detail of which is set out in our third quarter results announcement published on 27 January 2017.This financial information is unaudited.

    For more information, visit www.btplc.com

    About Openreach

    Openreach is the UK’s leading digital infrastructure provider.

    Its 32,000 employees are responsible for building and maintaining millions of miles of fibre and copper cables that connect every home and business in the UK to local telephone exchanges. Openreach operates and maintains this network to deliver a range of wholesale services for more than 560 retail providers, who in-turn provide telephony, broadband, TV and data services to more than 30 million consumer and business customers throughout the country.

    Openreach is a highly regulated business, with more than 90 per cent of its revenues generated from services that are regulated by Ofcom. Any company can access its products under exactly the same prices, terms and conditions.

    Over the last decade, Openreach has invested more than £10bn into its network and is currently building the UK’s largest fibre broadband footprint. This technology is available to more than 26 million homes and businesses, with tens of thousands more gaining access each week.

    Openreach is a wholly owned and independently governed division of the BT Group. For the year ended 31 March 2016, it reported revenues of £5.1bn.

    For more information, visit openreach.co.uk