CUMBRIA’S multi-million pound high-speed broadband project has passed an important milestone a month ahead of schedule.

More than 10,000 homes and businesses across the county are now able to connect to faster fibre broadband as a result of Connecting Cumbria.

Partners BT and Cumbria County Council today confirmed the challenging milestone had been passed at the beginning of December – a month earlier than originally planned.

By the end of 2015, Connecting Cumbria will have helped to extend fibre broadband access to 93 per cent of county properties - with the remaining premises unable to benefit from fibre having access to at least 2Mbps.

A project spokesman said the rollout was ‘making Cumbria one of the best connected places in Europe, and helping to break down Britain's digital divide between rural and urban areas’.

As part of Connecting Cumbria, fibre broadband has been delivered earlier than planned in parts of Lazonby, Rockcliffe, Ulverston and Walney, as well as in parts of Dalton-in-Furness, Maryport, Penrith, Whitehaven and Workington not already covered by BT’s commercial rollout.

The upgrades to superfast broadband do not happen automatically. People need to contact their internet service provider to request the service. To find out about the latest areas to be switched on to super-fast broadband, follow progress via Twitter @Connect_Cumbria