Rolling out a superfast broadband network

Cumbria is to enjoy the benefits of a next-generation broadband by 2015. The new network, underpinned by an integrated business support package, will offer download speeds of up to 30 megabits per second (Mbps) to businesses and premises across England’s second largest county.

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With a population of just under 500 000, Cumbria has extensive mountainous terrain and remote settlements. Relatively poor Internet connectivity hampers the county’s social and economic development.

This project aims to extend the reach of superfast network coverage to locations that currently have no such infrastructure or services and where the market is unlikely to deliver them in the near future. Investment will include development of the core network and connections to individual premises. The new infrastructure will also support mobile telecoms operators.

Benefits for businesses and citizens

At least 90 % of Cumbria’s broadband infrastructure, equivalent to 2 800 small and medium-sized enterprises, will be connected to this superfast broadband network at download speeds up to 30 Mbps. Around 500 of these SMEs will be connected thanks to the project’s business support component. A further 12 450 SMEs will be offered basic broadband speeds of up to 2 Mbps.

Support for retail service providers aims to encourage end-user take-up of superfast broadband services, whilst ensuring that European Regional Development Fund-eligible small and medium-sized enterprises across Cumbria take full advantage of this technology’s benefits. There will also be provision for work with community groups and others to extend the infrastructure where appropriate.

This project will help Cumbria keep pace with other regions reliant on fast broadband services. It will support existing SMEs and encourage new ones, and deliver improvements and efficiencies in public services.

The project is expected to create 145 new jobs directly and 155 indirectly.

Total investment and EU funding

Total investment for the project “Connecting Cumbria Superfast Broadband” is EUR 58 906 288, with the EU’s European Regional Development Fund contributing EUR 18 850 603 through the "Exploiting Innovation and Knowledge" priority of the “North West Regional Competitiveness and Employment” Operational Programme for the 2007-2013 programming period.

Draft date