On behalf of the local communities progressing their own community broadband projects in his constituency and across Cumbria, Rory has welcomed today’s news that the county has received Major Projects Approval from the European Commission. This represents another key milestone in the process of providing super-fast fibre broadband to Cumbrian homes and businesses, in conjunction with commercial supplier BT.

Rory said: “Overcoming this final hurdle is truly exciting, and we will begin to see improvements taking place in Cumbria. I am particularly keen to see community projects such as Fell End in my constituency – the first in the country to benefit from the Rural Community Broadband Fund – benefit from this. Fell End will be announcing their civil engineering partner at the end of this month, and will be the pioneering community broadband project in the UK, in a model that will be replicated across rural areas in the country. I now expect BT to announce a working plan relating to the areas they will cover and when, but we need to exercise caution and understand that this is a huge piece of engineering work that will not happen overnight. I will, however, continue to put pressure on government to extract from commercial suppliers the need for transparency, so that all our communities know where they stand, and know when their homes are going to be connected.”

Libby Bateman of Fell End Broadband also welcomed the news, saying:“This is the culmination of almost three years’ work on the improvement of broadband services for Cumbria. Rory has done a huge amount of work to ensure that Cumbria was first on the list as a pilot for Superfast Broadband back in 2010 and it is good to see that this work is coming to fruition. We are hugely grateful for all Rory has done, and call on him to continue pressing Connecting Cumbria and BT for announcements about their next steps for Cumbria.”

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