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September 13, 2011 10:42 AM

Local MP Tim Farron has called on Ofcom to 'bundle' areas together in the 4G auction to make sure that urban areas are packaged up with rural areas to make sure communities like ours get the broadband service they deserve.

Regulator Ofcom said the auction of Britain's next-generation 4G mobile phone spectrum could be pushed back at least three months to the second quarter of 2012, as it tries to iron out complex technical and legal issues. Tim is hoping that they use this time to 'bundle' areas together for the auction to make sure companies have to commit to providing rural areas like us the same service as they will in bigger cities in theNorth West.

Ofcom had originally targeted the first quarter of 2012 for the start of the auction.

Tim recently received confirmation from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport that Cumbria has been allocated indicative funding of over £17 million towards the costs of the rural broadband project.

Cumbria County Council last week announced the three organisations which have been short listed to help bring better broadband to the county. A wide range of interested companies have been whittled down to just three: BT, Cable and Wireless and Fujitsu.

Tim said: "The 4G Auction offers a unique chance for us to force the companies to be made to offer the superfast broadband our area needs. I hope that the auction and the £17 million we have secured from the government will allow us to build the broadband network communities like ours need. I will continue to press to make sure the county council spends the funds well but Ofcom must play their part too. A commitment from the companies to hook up rural areas to super fast broadband would be a big step forward."