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Cumbrian market town gets fibre broadband boost

Monday, July 4th 2016 by Phil Wilkinson-Jones

Superfast broadband has been made available to more than 3,000 homes and businesses in a Cumbrian market town.

Engineers for the Connecting Cumbria project have installed 12 new fibre street cabinets in Wigton, giving residents access to speeds of up to 24Mbps.

More than 900 premises in six nearby villages – Baggrow, Plumbland, Harriston, Bothel, Westnewton and Gilcrux – have also been connected.

Connecting Cumbria, a partnership between Cumbria County Council and BT, has now switched on more than 550 fibre cabinets and made superfast speeds available to 120,000 premises across the county.

Since the arrival of the first fibre cabinet in Wigton in autumn 2014, hundreds of households and businesses in the town have signed up for fibre.

They include Jacksons Models, a shop specialising in diecast models run by Brenda Jackson and her son Daniel.

Mrs Jackson said the new fibre connection had cut the time it takes to upload things to the company’s website – vital as it sells about 60% of its stock online.

“We upload changes to our website overnight – things like new price listings, new photos and details of items for sale,” she said.

“Before the upgrade, we would open up the next morning to discover errors or images missing on the website where they hadn’t uploaded properly because the broadband signal had dropped out.

“Now we don’t have to worry about any of that.”

'Reassuring'

David Southward, Cumbria County Council’s cabinet member responsible for economic development, said: “It is reassuring to see Connecting Cumbria reaching homes and businesses in communities however small or remote they may be.

“It reflects our ultimate goal which is to provide every resident, business, organisation and visitor with access to superfast fibre broadband.”

Mike Blackburn, BT’s north west regional director, said: “Superfast broadband is now seen as an essential rather than a luxury.

“Superfast broadband provides the cornerstone for prosperous communities, helping local people build their skills and knowledge whilst encouraging the creation of new businesses and jobs – and then helping to keep those businesses and jobs in the local communities.

“There is no quick and easy way to get superfast broadband to rural areas. It involves challenges above and beyond those you would encounter in a more urban environment, but we are making solid progress.

“Together with our commercial programme, we have already reached nearly 220,000 homes and businesses with our fibre network in Cumbria – and we are going further.”

Picture courtesy of Nigel Monckton.

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