LETTER: High-speed fibre broadband is being rolled out across Cumbria

High-speed fibre broadband has emerged as one of the hottest topics of recent years for communities across Cumbria. Increasingly, it is a must have technology. Local households and businesses are using it for everything from selling products to filling in government forms, helping with education, adding to entertainment or simply staying in touch. A great deal has already been achieved in Cumbria thanks to the multi million pound Connecting Cumbria partnership between Cumbria County Council along with six district councils, BT and the government. Around 200,000 premises in the county can now access fibre broadband as a result of the partnership and BT s own commercial rollout of this excitingtechnology.

And the number of homes and businesses able to get fibre is growing rapidly. By the end of the year, Cumbria coverage is expected to have reached the 93 per cent mark. But what about the people not yet included in any existing rollout plan and who don t get included in the next stage of public funding?

Part of BT s mission is to listen to those worried they’re not in any upgrade programme – and do what we can to help. We ve just announced our commitment to work with communities to find a fibre solution and have set up a community fibre partnership scheme to enable this. Our strong ambition is to never to say ‘no’ and rather to work together until we have agreed a suitable and affordable option. Indeed, we’ve already worked with 90 UK communities where local people have got together and pooled their funds with our contribution. These include Fell End in Cumbria, where the result has been almost 60 properties able to access fibre optic connections.

If any Cumbria community contacts us at www.openreach.co.uk/communityfibre we ll do whatever we can to help, including co-funding options. Householders and businesses can check the latest situation for their area by going to the Connecting Cumbria and Openreach superfast broadband websites. UK fibre broadband coverage is currently at 90 per cent, on course for 95 per cent by the end of 2017.

Independent studies already place the UK top of the European Union s five largest countries for broadband.

Our job now is to make sure that the UK remains at the forefront of this exciting technological revolution by doing whatever s possible to help the remaining five per cent of households and businesses still awaiting good news.

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Gavin Patterson

Chief Executive Officer, BT

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