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Broadband Scheme To Fall Short of Target - Farron

April 25, 2016 10:11 AM

The government's 'Connecting Cumbria' superfast broadband project will fail to meet its own targets, according to South Lakeland MP Tim Farron.

Connecting Cumbria's stated aim is "that 95% of homes and businesses in the county will be able to access superfast broadband by mid-2018." However, the government's own figures given to the House of Commons Library now suggest that it will fall short of this target, with just 88% of properties in Westmorland and Lonsdale due to enjoy superfast coverage by the project completion date in March 2018.

This will leave Westmorland and Lonsdale in the bottom quarter of all UK constituencies, in terms of the percentage of properties with superfast coverage.

There are 47,026 premises in Tim's Westmorland and Lonsdale constituency, of which 13,680 are commercial properties. As of 30th September last year 18,661 properties had been connected to superfast broadband, leaving a significant number to go.

Tim played a leading role in helping to secure £23.8 million in funding from the Government and BDUK to roll out a broadband scheme.

Tim said: "Access to decent quality broadband is no longer a luxury, it is essential. It is not only important for individuals; it is also critical for the local economy. It enables businesses and start-ups to connect to the global economy, helping to support local jobs.

"It is therefore worrying that the government's plans appear to have slipped behind. Once again, it is residents and businesses in rural areas like ours that are left behind by the government's plans. The government must be more ambitious and provide to everyone the superfast connections that are needed in the 21st century. The government must provide the resources to ensure that rural areas are not left to languish at the bottom of the heap."