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New report shows the need for super-fast broadband

May 31, 2012 11:58 AM

Cumbrian MP Tim Farron has today said that the County Council has 'one chance' to build a broadband network that will deliver for people in Cumbria.

Research published yesterday by the Federation of Small Business revealed six out of ten rural firms are presently suffering due to a lack of superfast broadband.

In its Voice of Small Business report, the organisation showed that 63 per cent of small businesses in rural areas are presently dissatisfied with the speed of their internet connection, while a further 34 per cent said their connection was "unreliable".

This follows on from a report produced last year by media regulator Ofcom which said that broadband inCumbriais worse than the remoteShetland Islandsand other areas of similar rurality to the county.

The map rates each area on five criteria of overall performance, average broadband take up, percentage receiving less than 2Mbit/s, superfast broadband availability and the average modem sync speed. Each area is ranked one to five with five being the worst.

Cumbria received a five ranking for three of the five categories: overall performance, speed of broadband (with 21 per cent of users having speeds of less than 2Mbit/s) and a further low rating for superfast broadband. Tests done by Uswitch revealed that top speeds in Askam in Furness (1.25Mbps), St Bees, (1.38Mbps) and Newbiggin-by-the-Sea (1.6Mbps) which are around six times slower than the national average.

Tim was a key member of the team that helped secure the original £23.8 million funding from BDUK and the Department of Culture, Media and Sport for the roll out of the broadband scheme. Tim has been calling for Cumbria to be the first county to be a 4G area and recently met with Vodafone and with Witherslack Parish Council to try and bring a femto cell pilot scheme in our area. This report shows how vital it is that this work continues.

Tim said: "Superfast internet access will help our businesses, our economy and link our communities together. The county council has the funds to help build a system that will stand the test of time. This report is a reminder that we continue to lag behind - that's why we need to redouble our efforts as a community and ensure that the county council stands firm in its negotiations with the big telecoms companies and make sure they put Cumbrians first not the interests of huge corporations"