Fibre broadband on its way to Cumbria

Superfast dream becomes a reality in Cumbria as rural broadband project finally has funding approved by the European Commission.

Rural broadband users in Cumbria can now look forward to faster speeds after much-needed funding for a fibre optic broadband scheme was approved.

It's been a long, nervous wait for the people of Cumbria, but the European Commission (EC) has finally said yes to the £50.8million project, which aims to bring superfast fibre broadband to 93% of the region's homes and businesses by the end of 2015.

Upgraded areas will eventually have access to broadband speeds in excess of 30Mb.

Johannes Hahn, The EC's commissioner for regional policy, said: "Projects like this will have huge benefits for businesses and citizens. This initiative in particular will allow north-west England to seize the opportunities offered by the digital economy."

Connecting Cumbria, as the project is known, will be funded by £15million from BT, as well as £17.1million from the government's Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) office and £13.7million from the EC's regional development fund.

The scheme has faced delays because of the size of the overall investment, which has meant it was subject to additional scrutiny from Europe. Many of the smaller BDUK projects were approved a long time ago and have since got well underway.

In March, Superfast Lancashire, an investment in fibre optic broadband for 13,000 premises across Lancashire, had finally been given the green light after a 12-month delay, which, again, had been caused by a long wait for EC approval.

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