I want Cumbria to have the best super-fast broadband network in Europe. Our aim has always been to try and see super-fast fibre broadband installed in the vast majority of our homes and businesses by the end of 2015. But the hard work does not end there: I don’t want to see any home left behind, which is why we have here in Fell End in Penrith and The Border, pioneered a community ‘build-and-benefit’ model, involving the community, government and the private sector, to create a replicable business case that means every remote area of the UK will be able to secure for themselves all the social and economic benefits that broadband offers. The primary obstacle to economic growth in Cumbria is isolation. Isolation has an enormous impact on both a business’ access to service provisions, and on its access to market. For the first time in history, we have developed a technology which allows us to overcome this barrier, and nothing can consequently make a greater single contribution to Cumbria’s economy, growth, or services than broadband.

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22-10-2013 11-14-11

Rory Speaks on Rural Broadband and Mobile Coverage

Transcript I beg to move, that this House recognises that rural businesses and rural communities across the UK are isolated and undermined by slow broadband and the lack of mobile voice and mobile broadband coverage; urges Ofcom to increase the coverage obligation attached to the 800MHz spectrum licence to 98 per cent.; and calls upon […]


broadband activism in askham

Rory, attended a broadband meeting at Askham village hall on Saturday to discuss community action and the benefits of superfast broadband with residents of Askham, Helton, Bampton and the surrounding area. In a meeting convened by newly-elected District Councillor and local broadband champion Mike Slee, Rory discussed the ways in which communities can get involved […]

Ash dieback

rural broadband and mobile coverage debate

Rory will open a full debate in the House of Commons on May 19th on the subject of rural broadband and mobile phone coverage. If he wins he hopes mobile coverage will be provided to an additional 2 million people around Britain and rural broadband will be significantly extended. Rory’s motion has garnered much cross-party […]


westminster rural broadband debate

Rory initiated an Adjournment Debate in the House of Commons last Wednesday at which he led MPs from around the country to push the Minister for Broadband, Edward Vaizey MP, on the demand for rural broadband. In the Westminster Hall Debate on Wednesday 23rd March 2011 Rory attracted 20 fellow MPs to the debate representing […]

22-10-2013 10-33-46

Rory’s Speech on Rural Broadband

Transcript I honour the hon. Member for Dagenham and Rainham (Jon Cruddas) for giving a good defence of many of the good elements of the big society, and a good warning on some of its dangers. Much of the debate, however, reminds me of sitting in a room with a group of philosophers looking at […]


bringing superfast broadband to penrith and the border

Nothing that I have done in my short time in parliament has been as exciting or as fulfilling as broadband. My constituency of Penrith and the Border is the largest in England and consists of over 200 villages. Our greatest problems stem from distance and isolation. My neighbour with Parkinson’s has to drive to Newcastle Hospital […]


‘broadband meets localism’ conference

Rory opened the ‘Broadband Meets Localism‘ conference at Carlisle Racecourse on Saturday January 14th with a speech in which he explained how the passion of parishes in Cumbria was ‘completely transforming’ the government’s approach to broadband. Gathered at the event, organised by the Carlisle Parish Councils Association (CPCA) and Cumbria County Council, were over one hundred community […]

village hall led revolution

Article first published in The Observer on 2 January 2011. An internet revolution driven by tiny rural communities and their village halls in Cumbria is giving the telecoms giants a run for their money This winter, 130 activists gathered to discuss superfast broadband in a village hall in Cumbria. They had come from 100 villages, […]



Article first published in The Guardian on 2 January 2011. This winter, 130 activists gathered to discuss superfast broadband in a village hall in Cumbria. They had come from 100 villages, by 100 paths. Ali had presumably travelled north along the shore of Ullswater, rounded Loadpot Hill and turned south down the Lowther valley, until […]


broadband presentation

This is a slideshow that I use when giving power point presentations about Broadband and the Big Society. There are some fun images that I thought I would share. Broadband and Big Society