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Improving our Digital Connectivity

Photo of children surrounding a cheerily painted telecommunications box

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 with almost 95% of the county able to access superfast broadband of at least 24Mbps download.

However, 16% of premises in the Eden District  are still without access to superfast infrastructure and  14% 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 gigabit capable broadband 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 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:

Photo of a boat on Lake Windermere

  • Improve fibre connectivity: support the ongoing deployment of gigabit-capable connectivity to increase access to the best quality internet connection needed for modern business across Cumbria, supporting the digital investment proposed as part of the Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal
  • Improve mobile connectivity to provide improved 4G coverage from mobile network operators, supporting the digital investment proposed as part of the Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal

Download: DIGITAL CUMBRIA – Connected, Capable and Creative: 2021–2026 (PDF, 4.0MB)

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, with Phase 2 of the programme 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.

Connecting Cumbria logo

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 almost 95% of properties in Cumbria now able to access superfast broadband. It has exceeded its recent output target, ensuring that CLEP has already achieved its Growth Deal target of an additional 5,000 premises with access to superfast broadband.

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