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Government confirm to MP that Cumbria will get £16.8 million boost for rural broadband

July 7, 2011 11:02 AM

Westmorland and Lonsdale MP Tim Farron has today received confirmation from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport that Cumbria has been allocated indicative funding of £16.8 million towards the costs of the rural broadband project.

Tim wrote to Vince Cable and Ed Vaizey in June asking them about government support for the BDUK rural broadband pilot scheme in Cumbria. They replied on Tuesday telling Tim the fantastic news. The government have asked Cumbria County Council to go away and produce a Local Broadband Plan which has to be agreed by BDUK. Cumbria will be receiving £400,000 more than North Yorkshire whose BDUK funding was announced earlier this week.

This news follows yesterday's when Ofcom released a 'broadband map' of the United Kingdom which shows that Cumbria has lower overall broadband performance than a lot of other rural regions, many of which are significantly more remote. These include the Shetland Isles, Devon, Cornwall and Argyll.

One of Tim's key campaigns is to get superfast broadband available across the South Lakes and he is working alongside local communities and the county council to make this a reality. In October Cumbria was announced as one of the four initial pilot areas for superfast broadband access by Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK). Tim is today meeting with local hub-coordinators as part of the campaign to improve broadband in our community.

Tim said: "This is fantastic news! £16.8 million is a fantastic boost for rural broadband. Superfast internet access will help our businesses, our economy and link our communities together. I am delighted that our campaigning and the behind the scenes work we've done has paid off. I hope the money we have secured will allow us to fund real projects on the ground - the hub-coordinators will now be able to use the funding to make a real difference to the South Lakes."