THE FIRST homes in a village-wide roll-out are being installed with fibre optic broadband, thanks to a group of residents speaking with once voice.

Openreach began installing faster-than-light broadband in the first batch of Clifton homes last week.

The work has been facilitated by residents of the village coming together and taking advantage of Government schemes.

Resident of the community near Penrith, Jonathan Davies said: "The Government launched the Gigabyte Broadband Voucher Scheme to enable communities to take advantage and get it installed in their area.

"We were fortunate in this area because we were also covered by the Borderlands broadband initiative."

Thanks to the generosity of residents in the area, all homeowners were able to take advantage of the Government's efforts to improve rural connectivity.

Mr Davies said: "Collectively the community came together and pooled those vouchers into a single pot so it could be rolled-out to the entire community.

"It was actually pooling the vouchers together that got it built out for the entire community. Collective collaboration has got it delivered for the entire community."

The Clifton man facilitated the move by making residents aware of the opportunity on the Clifton 1745 Facebook page.

And he said that modern broadband speeds are vital in 2022 following the Covid-19 culture shift.

"It's not just necessary for people home-schooling, locked down, working from home but even switching the TV on to watch something. A lot of it is services like Netflix and Amazon Prime.

"From 2025 the public service telephone network's getting switched off and all telephone calls will be covered by internet protocol."

Mr Davies said: "It is going to have a massive impact for everyone."

MP for Penrith and the Border Neil Hudson is currently on a campaign to improve connectivity in rural areas.

In 2019, he met with Minister for Digital Infrastructure, Matt Warman to discuss the issue of poor digital connectivity in rural areas.

Mr Hudson said: "The Government has been making important strides recently; alongside the Shared Rural Network, £5 billion has been committed to the rollout of gigabit broadband in rural areas, the Universal Service Obligation (sets a minimum requirement for download speeds) has been introduced and 99 per cent of new build homes will have built-in gigabit broadband.

"These are steps in the right direction but I want the Government to go further. I am determined to keep this issue high on the Government’s agenda to ensure that Penrith and The Border isn’t left behind and can share in the prosperity that good mobile and broadband coverage can bring.”