Faster broadband arrives in Cumbrian towns

In the interests of transparency let me declare an interest: I work for BT but am not personally involved in the plans to rollout Broadband service in Cumbria. All the information in this post is already in the public domain.

The "Connecting Cumbria" initiative is still awaiting EU approval, but meanwhile faster broadband continues to roll out in a series of Cumbrian towns.

More than 19,000 homes and businesses in Barrow-in-Furness and over 11,000 in Workington are getting faster broadband service in the next few weeks as engineers complete local investment programmes.

These towns follow Penrith, Carlisle and Kendal where fibre is already available, and will be followed shortly by Dalton-in-Furness,  Kirby Lonsdale, Maryport and Whitehaven.

Burton-in-Kendal and Newbiggin-on-Lune are earmarked for upgrades by the end of Spring 2014, taking the total number of homes and businesses across Cumbria able to benefit as a result of BT’s £2.5 billion fibre roll-out programme to more than 111,000.

This commercial investment by BT is in addition to the Connecting Cumbria partnership between the company and Cumbria County Council, which, providing EU approval does not take too much longer,  will make fast, affordable fibre broadband to around 93 per cent of Cumbria homes and businesses by the end of 2015.

Mike Blackburn, BT’s regional director for the North West, said: “Research suggests that within 15 years fibre broadband could bolster the economy of a typical town by £143 million and create 225 new jobs, 140 new start-up businesses and 1,000 more homeworkers.

“The arrival of fibre in Barrow-in-Furness and Workington can really help local firms in these economically challenging times, opening up new ways of working and speeding up vital operations, such as file and data transfers, conferencing and computer back-up, all of which may also help cut costs.”

This investment has been welcomed by community leaders and MPs accross the political spectrum, who recognise that High-speed digital connectivity is a defining factor in building long-term success for Cumbria's economy

BT’s fibre footprint currently passes more than 15 million UK homes and businesses. It is expanding all the time and is now due to pass two-thirds of UK premises – e.g. around 19 million homes and businesses – by Spring 2014, at least 18 months ahead of the original timetable.


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