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Saturday, 19 April 2014

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Cumbria council to spend £2.5m promoting superfast broadband to business

Cumbria County Council is to spend £2.5 million promoting superfast broadband to the business community.

Nick Kittoe photo
Nick Kittoe

It will be spent ensuring that the roll-out of superfast broadband by BT will lead to business growth and generate new jobs.

Tender documents describe the contract as being for an “integrated business support programme aimed at stimulating the take up of superfast broadband services and ensuring small and medium sized enterprises take full advantage of its benefits”.

And they also reveal for the first time that the project is aiming to supply speeds of 30Mbps to 90 per cent of homes and businesses.

BT will begin the roll out early next year with the mammoth project due for completion in 2014. It is being funded by around £40m of Government and European money plus £30m investment from BT.

Alan Cook, programme manager of Connecting Cumbria, said: “The £2.5m will fund business support. It will make businesses aware of the ways broadband can give them real benefits.”

However, Nick Kittoe, of Solway Communications said: “To put £2.5m in context, Solway Communications is willing to go on record that for £2.5m, it could provide synchronous internet access up to 250Mbps to at least 90 per cent of the county’s businesses.

“Why does the county wants to spend this vast sum on stimulating demand for a service that the county’s businesses are evidently already clamouring for?”

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