£16.8 million pounds for broadband in cumbria
Rory has welcomed news of the government’s confirmation of £16.8 million pounds for broadband improvements in Cumbria. The news comes just hours before Rory will chair a Broadband Industry Day, where representatives of the world’s major telecom companies – including BT, Fujitsu, Cable & Wireless and Cisco – will visit Penrith to meet with local communities and discuss ways in which they can together solve the problem of poor broadband in rural areas. The local MP has declared it “a triumphant week for Cumbria’s broadband campaigners” and has paid tribute to the many supporters who have backed his year-long campaign to improve broadband in Cumbria.
Rory has been working since election in May 2010 to secure government money and industry support to improve broadband in rural Cumbria. The Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Jeremy Hunt, described Rory Stewart in October as “instrumental’ in winning the broadband money for Cumbria”. He added: “I am delighted to be able to announce the support for Cumbria. I was particularly impressed by Rory Stewart’s approach and advocacy of broadband for Cumbria. He and the Cumbrian communities should be very proud of what they have achieved.”
Ed Vaizey, the Minister for Broadband also added his praise for Mr Stewart’s efforts on behalf of Cumbria during the recent debate in Oarliament on mobile coverage in rural areas. The Minister joked that Mr Stewart’s “relentless focus on mobile broadband is also severely disrupting my life.”
Rory said: “I’m incredibly pleased that the government finally confirmed, on 10th June, that it will put £16.8 million towards improving Cumbria’s broadband. When I went to see the Secretary of State, Jeremy Hunt, in July last year to ask him for money for a broadband pilot in Cumbria, he told me that we were very unlikely to get any. But in October, the Chancellor announced that Cumbria would be a fourth national broadband pilot and promised us between £5 and £10 million. I’ve put in a year of work and held more than a hundred meetings to secure this money for Cumbria. I’m really delighted that the final sum is even more than we were originally promised. Our lobbying has paid off and it’s a real testament to the skill of Cumbria County Council and its excellent work in preparing the local broadband plan. Cumbria can now lead the way nationally in solving rural broadband problems. We will be taking the first steps in this direction on Friday July 8th when I’ll host an Industry Day at the Stoneybeck Inn near Penrith where the telecom companies, Cumbria CCC and local communities will meet to thrash out community broadband solutions. The spotlight continues to shine on our communities.”