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****Cumbria Broadband Pilot announced by the Chancellor in Spending Review Statement****

"Penrith and the Border communities are determined to get high-speed Next Generation broadband Access (NGA) for most people and a reliable 2mb connection for everyone by the end of 2012. This is vital for a constituency with a higher proportion of self- employed people than anywhere else in Britain. It will also be very important for us as the most sparsely populated constituency in England, with very poor access to many services.

Under current plans, Cumbria is unlikely to achieve universal 2mb access before 2015. Even this date seems very optimistic. There are currently no plans to provide superfast NGA for most of the citizens in the constituency. A conventional approach – where Government and a private sector provider lay all the fibre for superfast access – would be totally unaffordable (a recent estimate was for £40 million pounds).

We therefore need a project that can deliver universal broadband to everyone in Penrith and the Border, and super-fast broadband to most people, in a fraction of the time and at a fraction of the cost. Our Parish Pump Project aims to drive this process by opening 'back-haul' fibre-optic infrastructure, which is already in the ground but which is currently inaccessible, and relying on communities to install the 'last mile' from the fibre back-haul to their homes. If successful, it would rapidly ‘fill in’ through community action 1,200 square miles of the most remote part of England."
RORY STEWART MP                                        

Demand for broadband
Click on the Case Studies link for stories of local residents and businesses desperate for improved broadband access

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