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Tim Farron

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MP tells government: 4G for Cumbria 'Make us the first'

January 9, 2012 1:17 PM

 (Tim broadband photo)South Lakes MP Tim Farron has written to Jeremy Hunt the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport and Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) telling them that Cumbria should be the first rural area to be a 4G pilot.

Tim is calling on the government and Ofcom to 'bundle' areas together in the upcoming 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. Tim has written to the Treasury calling on them to insist that the main objective of the auction is providing coverage for everyone in Cumbria and not profit.

Regulator Ofcom said late last year that 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. Ofcom had originally targeted the first quarter of 2012 for the start of the auction.

Tim was a key member of the team that helped secure the £23.8 million from BDUK and the Department of Culture, Media and Sport for the Cumbrian broadband project.

Recently when Tim met with Jeremy Hunt, to talk about theCumbriabroadband project the minister revealed that the Government is delivering the funding directly to local authorities, who will be required to submit a draft Local Broadband Plan to the Government. In cases where a local authority fails to produce a final plan by July, the Government will consider national procurement.

Currently mobile provider 3 is currently piloting 11 rural communities across theUKwho will benefit from free 3G access for a year under the initiative. The village of Kaber in the Eden valley is one of the areas to benefit with 3Mobile offering locals dongles and free data.

Commenting, Tim said: "4G is the future of broadband and we must get the government to agree that Cumbria is right at the forefront of this. This will allow us to work with businesses, providers and make sure the county gets the very best mobile and broadband coverage. For our economy to grow we need broadband infrastructure that will last for the long term. Piecemeal 3G roll outs are fantastic for the villages in question but within a few years it will be obsolete technology. I want the government to back our scheme to make sure we build the broadband network of the future, today."