MP secures Parliamentary debate to back B4RN in Cumbria
Tomorrow morning (Tuesday), local MP Tim Farron will lead a Westminster Hall debate in Parliament to urge ministers to back down over proposals which would stop rural communities in Cumbria getting hyperfast broadband.
The rules around the Government's Project Gigabit scheme mean that the community-led company B4RN would be unable to bid to provide broadband to many areas in the county.
B4RN have warned that this will force them to 'immediately and significantly cut back build plans in Cumbria' as a result.
That means that local communities who were set to be connected by B4RN could see their broadband be significantly delayed, and some homes in rural areas may now be missed out altogether.
Tim said: "I'm deeply frustrated by the Government's completely cloth eared response to our pleas to change the procurement process for Project Gigabit so B4RN can continue to deliver hyperfast broadband to our local rural communities.
"As a result many communities who were on the verge of being connected by B4RN will rightly feel like they've had the rug pulled from underneath them.
"I'm glad to have secured a debate in Parliament tomorrow so I can press ministers to see sense and allow B4RN to expand their amazing service to more communities in Cumbria."
Michael Lee, B4RN's CEO said: "For the last ten years volunteers in the North of England have been coming together, picking up their picks and their shovels, and digging future-proof fibre optic infrastructure into the land - because they care about levelling up their communities.
"Instead of helping us to continue, or even accelerate, this work, the Project Gigabit procurement process, as it currently stands, will severely disrupt our build plans and in many cases force us to put community projects on hold, in some cases indefinitely.
"I am very grateful that Tim Farron MP has brought this issue to Parliament's attention, and I'm certain that if we work together we can find a solution that works for all parties. Ultimately we all share a common goal - delivering fibre optic infrastructure to as many communities as possible, as quickly as possible."