A SOUTH Lakeland country parish is on the cusp of getting the world’s fastest broadband with speeds rivalling major cities. As communities in Witherslack, Foulshaw and Meathop prepare to roll up sleeves and dig for 1,000Mbps, 60 businesses and up to 50 percent of homes are set to see spiralling opportunities. B4RN, the rural not-for-profit fibre optic network, has started a four-phase delivery and expects first connections to be made during spring 2021. According to resident and steering group member, Steve Ratcliffe, the impact cannot be overestimated. He said: “Whichever way you look at it, our lives will be changed forever, from the youngest to the oldest getting future chances we couldn’t have dreamed possible without B4RN. “So many businesses, which include the majority of our farms, have struggled, particularly during Covid-19. For those operating from home with internet speeds that often make crucial online meetings and work incredibly difficult, it’s been especially tough. “Thanks to B4RN, we will be on a par with major cities across the world. Socially, educationally, commercially and economically this is a huge deal for us. Those reliant on high speeds can’t live and work here right now – but they will be able to very soon.”