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High-speed boost for thousands more homes and businesses as Cockermouth becomes latest community to benefit from Connecting Cumbria partnership

Press release   •   Mar 25, 2014 00:00 GMT

High-speed fibre broadband is now available to the first homes and businesses in 

Cockermouth, thanks to the multi-million pound Connecting Cumbria partnership.

Partners Cumbria County Council and BT today confirmed more than 3,200
premises are now able to connect to the new network.

This figure will rise to more than 6,000 when the engineering work is
completed in the coming weeks. This involves installing 23 new street-side cabinets
which are connected to the newly laid fibre optic network.

Paul Cretney, BT’s project manager for Connecting Cumbria, said: “This is a
huge engineering project, but work is progressing extremely well. We hope people in
Cockermouth will now take advantage of the many benefits that faster fibre
broadband provides.

“Whether it’s people working from home, children doing their homework online
or families doing internet shopping, everything is easier and quicker with fibre
broadband.”

Councillor David Southward, Cumbria County Council’s Cabinet member
responsible for economic development and lead member for Connecting Cumbria,
said: “I’m delighted that we’re seeing another town in Cumbria being ‘switched on’ to
fibre broadband thanks to the Connecting Cumbria programme. Cockermouth is one
of Cumbria’s most famous towns and an iconic location for demonstrating the
benefits that super-fast broadband can bring to rural areas.

“Businesses, residents and visitors will be able to benefit from the advantages
that fibre broadband brings. This is another benchmark in the rejuvenation and
regeneration of Cockermouth since the 2009 floods.”

Connecting Cumbria will enable 93 per cent of Cumbrian properties to have
access to high-speed fibre broadband by the end of 2015 with the remainder getting
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.

When an area has ‘gone live’, people wanting to enjoy faster fibre broadband
can place an order with the internet service provider (ISP) of their choice. There’s a
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 within
reach of more than 19,000 homes and businesses across the county.

People can follow progress on the roll-out via the Connecting Cumbria website –
www.connectingcumbria.org – and on twitter.

Cockermouth will be followed by Millom and Hackthorpe, which are also due to go
live this Spring.

Openreach engineers are working closely and co-ordinating work with Cumbria
County Council highways department to ensure disruption to local people is kept to a
minimum.

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
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