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Farron asks parliamentary questions about broadband roll out

March 11, 2014 11:33 AM

South Lakes MP Tim Farron has this morning tabled a series of questions about the lack of clarity about the broadband roll out in Cumbria.

After a year of lobbying by South Lakes MP Tim Farron, finally last week Cumbria County Council released the 'Final Coverage Guide': http://www.connectingcumbria.org.uk/final-coverage-guide. Tim has slammed this final guide as 'woefully inadequate'.

He believes that it still lacks the required detail for residents and communities to understand when and what kind of broadband service they will receive. It also doesn't tell campaigners where any 'not spots' will be. Furthermore, on the map the legend stated.

"The level of detail provided on this map is as agreed with the Department of Culture Media and Sport and the Public Accounts Committee. No further detail will be provided."

Margaret Hodge MP, the Chair of the Public Account Committee was asked over Twitter if this was agreed with her committee. She said that they did not agree any of the detail. The exchange can be found here:

https://twitter.com/margarethodge/status/441947716466515969

Over the last 18 months, Tim has had major concerns about the planned roll out.

Cumbria County Council has set a date for their plans to roll-out superfast broadband across the county, aiming to provide it to 93% of homes by 2015. 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 also been calling for Cumbria to be the first county to be a 4G area. Only a couple of weeks ago Tim was able to a secure a further 2.86 million of government money for superfast broadband will help business start-ups and job creation in some of Cumbria's hardest to reach rural areas.

Tim said: "After a year of waiting this detail is still not enough, communities need to see detailed plans. This map is totally unacceptable and residents deserve much better. I will keep doing all I can and fighting for the best broadband provision possible for local people.

"I think both BT and Cumbria County Council are at fault. I am still waiting for answers from Cumbria County Council for a year now. If they cannot answer a few questions, it makes you wonder if they can deliver a project of this magnitude."

"As well as tabling questions and pushing ministers for answers I will also be asking Ofcom to look at this whole process, public money should be spent openly and freely and residents deserve to know a lot more detail about what kind of broadband speed they will get."