Broadband boost proves popular in Cumbria

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3 August 2017 5:41PM

More than 10,000 extra businesses and homes have signed up to high-speed broadband in Cumbria over the last year, according to new figures.

Connecting Cumbria – partnership between Cumbria County Council and BT, which is carrying out the installation through its Openreach division – has made fibre-optic technology available to more than 122,000 homes and businesses across the county.

The organisation's research has shown that 40 per cent of these properties - about 48,800 - have taken up the opportunity to use it. This is an increase of 29.5 per cent of the 120,000 - 35,400 - which were able to access it this time last year.

One business which has taken advantage of it is Silverlink Clinics, which has properties across the north, including a clinic in Carleton, Carlisle. The business helps people to lose weight with non-surgical therapy, together with skin tightening and body shaping.

Chris Matthews, founder and chief executiveof the clinics, said: “With our high-speed fibre connection we’re now able to operate a site-to-site Virtual Private Network (VPN) service between our clinics which has improved security and privacy when sharing data. The better connectivity also allows us to operate an internet based phone service between our clinics, saving us money.

“Our website and social media pages rely heavily on client testimonial videos to promote the services which we offer. Prior to our upgrade, the upload of these videos was time consuming and unreliable, now uploads are fast and without error."

In Howtown, Ullswater, the Jones family living at Cote Farm have seen a 90 fold increase in broadband speeds from their previously slow connection of around 0.5 megabits per second (Mbps).

One member of the family, Gill Jones, has found online admin tasks at the farm, like registering calves’ births, much easier with high-speed broadband, as well as internet shopping, much easier.

She said: “My eldest son is at university and is into online gaming. Quite often he didn’t want to come home due to the slow speeds we were getting. Now we’re all looking forward to watching online TV together.”

David Southward, Cumbria County Council’s Cabinet member responsible for economic development, said: “Fibre broadband is transforming the lives of people in Cumbria. So much we do these days relies on a fast internet connection whether we’re at home or at work."

Mike Blackburn, chairman of BT’s north west regional board, said: “We are delighted the rollout in Cumbria is proving to be so popular. It’s great to see the benefits of all the hard work of the programme coming to life through the number of people who are now taking advantage of the high speeds. The technology really does have the ability to transform the way people use the internet and make home and work lives much easier.”

About 91 per cent of Cumbrian homes and businesses can now order fibre broadband. For full details visit www.connectingcumbria.org.uk.

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