Following his commitment at a Matterdale parish council meeting in 2015, Rory Stewart MP brought the managing director of the BT Group, Bill Murphy, to Watermillock Village Hall on Friday, to talk directly to local Ullswater communities about the options for delivering superfast broadband to the outlying properties and businesses in the various parishes around the lake.​ He is encouraging other parishes who wish to explore alternative methods of delivering superfast broadband to remote communities, to get in touch.​

Rory opened the meeting by thanking the local parishes for organising the substantial turnout of close to one hundred people, and thanked Bill Murphy for travelling to Cumbria to reinforce his commitment to delivering results in difficult remote areas. Speaking at the event, Rory said: “We are very, very lucky to have the managing director of BT here today, highlighting how important it is to continue driving superfast broadband as wide and as deep as we possibly can. Broadband delivery in Cumbria varies from area to area, and it is important to learn from other models that might have valuable learning for how to bring fast speeds to Ullswater, and tailor the programme to the area. It is brilliant to see such committed communities represented here today: half the battle is harnessing community energy, and bringing that energy together with government and the private sector to bring broadband to every home and business.”

Bill Murphy of BT said: “We’re far from finished in Cumbria. As long as you, the community, is prepared to do the work, so are we; we will keep chipping away until we deliver in this area.”

Joining Rory and Bill was Libby Bateman, who led the Fell End ‘build and benefit’ rural broadband model, a 15-kilometre network of fibre-to-the-home connecting 58 rural properties, including 24 businesses. Libby demonstrated how the community, government and BT had worked together to create the successful model, and encouraged all in attendance that it was possible.

BT’s Matt Lloyd presented on the rolling out of BT’s Community Fibre Partnerships, where Openreach works with a local group which is not covered by an existing fibre upgrade plan, to find a solution to bring fibre to their area. The community works directly with Openreach and helps fund part of the fibre build.

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