Improving our Digital Connectivity | Infrastructure | Cumbria LEP
Improving digital connectivity

Infrastructure

Improving our Digital Connectivity

Hallbankgate Cabinet

Given the remote location of many businesses and people in Cumbria, access to digital connectivity is absolutely critical for accessing service and for business.

The coverage of broadband has improved considerably in Cumbria over the last 5 years, helped by the Connecting Cumbria project, detailed below, which has accelerated the roll-out of superfast broadband to most villages in Cumbria.

However, there still remains 7% of premises without access to superfast broadband coverage in Eden and across the Lake District National Park. Furthermore, looking to the future, "superfast" connectivity is unlikely to be sufficient for many businesses and communities to fully access market and service opportunities. Of concern, therefore, is that coverage across Cumbria of ultrafast broadband, with the exception of Carlisle, is poor.

Increasingly important for businesses, visitors and local residents of Cumbria is access to both a good quality mobile signal and to mobile data services. Currently, mobile signal and 3G and 4G mobile data connectivity is relatively poor in many parts of Cumbria and is highly dependent on different mobile providers.

The importance of improving digital connectivity in Cumbria cannot be overstated. The requirements and expectations in terms of speed and bandwidth of connectivity are ever increasing. We need to build on and extend the really excellent past and on-going work of Connecting Cumbria:

  • The importance of improving digital connectivity in Cumbria cannot be overstated. The requirements and expectations in terms of speed and bandwidth of connectivity are ever increasing. We need to build on and extend the really excellent past and on-going work of Connecting Cumbria:

Windermere

  • Improve fibre connectivity: continued expansion and roll-out of Connecting Cumbria (both superfast and ultra-fast broadband) to increase access to good quality internet connection needed for modern business to move Cumbria to as close as possible 100% access to superfast broadband, supporting the digital investment proposed as part of the Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal
  • Improve mobile connectivity work on development of 5G provision (and full 4G provision) with mobile operators (and BDUK), supporting the digital investment proposed as part of the Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal. We are delighted that Vodafone is trialling a new rural 5G service in the Lake District

CASE STUDY: Connecting Cumbria

Connecting Cumbria, the project to support the roll out of superfast broadband in the county, is being delivered by Cumbria County Council and Openreach, supported by Building Digital UK, and part-funded by a £3.6 million Local Growth Fund allocation from CLEP.

The project – total cost £6.46 million with the remainder coming from Government via Building Digital UK – plays a key role in ensuring that Cumbria is able to offer a high-level of digital connectivity for both residents and businesses alike.

In ensuring that our rural communities are connected, it will support economic growth objectives through increasing productivity and efficiency in businesses, attracting more inward investment and supporting the growth in home and remote working for people who want to enjoy the many benefits of living and working in Cumbria.

Connecting Cumbria has made a great deal of progress since it started in 2013, with the majority of properties in Cumbria now able to access superfast broadband. It has exceeded its output target, ensuring that CLEP has already achieved its Growth Deal target of 5,000 premises with access to superfast broadband.

The project is currently forecasting that 9,100 premises will have access to superfast broadband upon its completion. The final element of Growth Fund allocation - £1,578,196 - is forecast to be spent in 2019/20.

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