THE largest ultrafast broadband project in Cumbria has been completed - putting the Lakes on 'par with London'.
Around 480 households and businesses in Crosthwaite, Underbarrow and Brigsteer now have access to some of the fastest internet speeds in the UK.
Engineers from Openreach, BT’s local network business, installed 12km of overhead fibre cabling and pruned hundreds of trees in order to run the cable between telegraph poles.
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One local business experiencing the benefits of having fibre is the Damson Dene Hotel in Crosthwaite.
Jonathan Denby, managing director of the South Lakes Hotels, said: “It seems like a miracle that we have ultrafast broadband in the middle of the Lake District National Park.
“This is a really fantastic service and exactly what our guests need. It puts the Lake District on a par with a big city like London. We get so many guests from places like Tokyo and Beijing and although our railways may remind them of the Middle Ages, our internet is up there with the rest of the world."
The new Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) network is capable of delivering speeds up to 1 gigabit per second (Gbps).
More than 120,000 households and businesses now have access to fibre broadband as a result of the Connecting Cumbria project – a partnership between Cumbria County Council and BT.
Jonathan Harris, senior programme manager for Connecting Cumbria said: “Connecting Cumbria is doing everything it can to reach as many parts of Cumbria as possible. It’s great to hear time and time again how fibre broadband is helping businesses and residents across the county to do more.”
Jim Jackson, Openreach’s regional infrastructure delivery director for the North, added: “Cumbria has some very challenging terrain with some major obstacles to be overcome as we deliver high-speed fibre broadband to as many communities as possible.
“There is no quick and easy way to get fibre broadband to some rural areas, but we continue to look for the most innovative and best ways of doing this, like cutting back 12km of trees to enable us to reach these three villages in South Lakeland and provide the largest deployment of FTTP in the county.”
Westmorland and Lonsdale MP Tim Farron praised the work of engineers when he visited Crosthwaite.
"Access to top quality broadband is not only important for local residents, it is also vital for our local economy," he said. "It enables businesses based in villages in rural Cumbria to connect to the global economy, reaching new markets and helping to support local jobs.
“Investing in broadband infrastructure will give a real boost to the local economy. It is vital that ultrafast broadband continues to be rolled out across the county, so that we can compete on the international stage.”