rory joins residents to campaign for shap superfast broadband
Rory continued his campaign supporting local constituents in their fight for better rural broadband when he joined broadband activists in Shap on Friday, assisting their campaign to drum up demand and get better broadband into the village and its surroundings.
Shap is one of six communities identified by Cumbria County Council as likely to fall within the 7% of the county that will not be covered by contract with BT Global, due to their remote nature and geography. This follows the community’s successful expression of interest to Defra’s Rural Communities Broadband Fund (RCBF) for funding. Any application must now demonstrate strong community support and commitment, and local Hub Co-ordinators and Broadband Champions are in the process of working hard to foster local interest by distributing survey questionnaires that will evidence the important local need necessary for the process to move forward.
Rory is encouraging all residents to take part in the completion of surveys, which need to be filled in and returned by 8th February at the latest, in order to allow the Connecting Cumbria project team the chance to collate the data and prepare a bid to be submitted to Defra in April. During his visit to Shap, Rory learned that the 740 properties within the community are all currently served by one central exchange, which has a detrimental impact on the speed and reliability of broadband currently available.
The MP met with local Broadband Champion Patrick Neaves, local County Councillor Tom Lowther and Parish Clerk Jean Scott-Smith (pictured at cafe Cream 17) as they distributed the surveys and fostered local support for the initiative Speaking on the project, Rory said: “It’s fantastic to again find local activists taking the initiative and playing an integral role in securing superfast broadband for themselves and their villages. Initiatives like this are not just about individuals but the community as a whole. The importance of broadband is not just about what it offers to individuals in their home, but the value it can bring to teaching in the local school, or the way in which it can help the local pub or cafe remain open and viable. I am therefore urging everyone in the area to fill out their questionnaires to help bring superfast broadband to Shap.”
Further details of communities covered by this application are available on the Connecting Cumbria website. (www.connectingcumbria.org)