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Friday, 03 July 2015

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Large parts of Carlisle will not get superfast broadband

Large areas of Carlisle will miss out when BT extends superfast broadband to the city this summer.

John Stevenson photo
John Stevenson

The fibre-optic network should provide speeds between 2.52 and 55.29 times faster than existing broadband connections.

But a BT document obtained by The Cumberland News shows that thousands of customers will not be offered the enhanced service.

Areas omitted include Kingstown, Rosehill and Durranhill industrial estates, part of the city centre, and many residential addresses in Harraby, Botcherby, Currock, Raffles, Belle Vue, Stanwix and Denton Holme.

Kingmoor Park, which is serviced by Rockcliffe exchange, also misses out.

BT says it is not viable to connect the whole city.

MP John Stevenson and business leaders fear this will put Carlisle at a competitive disadvantage.

David Newstead, managing director of Online Systems at Kingstown, said: “I was shocked to find this is the case. It is going to disadvantage business. It’s got to the point where it is critical.

“It will affect inward investment from companies looking at Carlisle. The first thing they ask is, ‘what are the broadband connections like?’”

Superfast broadband speeds up the download of data-heavy files such as graphics, music, films and technical drawings.

Packages such as BT Infinity typically cost £10 a month more than conventional broadband.

Cumbria County Council’s Connecting Cumbria project aims to ensure that 90 per cent of the county has the option of superfast broadband by 2015.

The council has secured £16.7m of government funding to deliver superfast broadband in rural areas where it is unviable for BT to do it.

Mr Newstead added: “We’re going to find out we have super-fast [broadband] in rural areas but not in the industrial estates in Carlisle. This needs to be addressed. ”

Mr Stevenson hopes the gaps can be filled.

The Conservative wants the county council to ensure that whoever is awarded the contract to deliver rural broadband also plugs the gaps in Carlisle.

BT and Fujitsu are competing for the work and the contract should be awarded this summer.

The council says it is committed to “delivering the best service we can for most citizens”.

Mr Stevenson said: “I am concerned. We need the best possible broadband in Carlisle.

“It is modern-day infrastructure and it is absolutely critical for business.”

He is lobbying too for Carlisle to receive some of the £50m announced by Chancellor George Osborne last month to upgrade broadband in smaller cities.

BT Openreach is rolling out superfast broadband nationally at a cost of £2.5bn.

BT claims it is the largest engineering project of its kind in the world.

A spokeswoman said: “Work on upgrading Carlisle for super-fast broadband is going well and we’re on course to see the first people using it from the summer onwards.

“New street-side cabinets are being installed to connect residents to the fibre network.”

She added that, in deciding which areas to upgrade, BT took into account feedback from broadband companies about potential demand as well as “technical considerations”.

Have your say

This is well daft I work out in the country (down towards Penrith) and noticed today that Catterlen a tiny community in the middle of nowhere. maybe 20 houses has fiber optic cable installed complete with the new exchange boxes and they are worried about extending the cable round Carlisle where I'm pretty sure the pipes and cables have already been installed (didn't Ofcom do it years ago but run out of funding or something?). I live up in Harraby and I know atleast 3 people in the area who would 100% get fiber optic I strongly suspect there would be at least another 17 households in the entire area that would also get it so only seems fair they give it to us.

Posted by Kev Ashburner on 10 April 2015 at 18:44

i don't think we will get superfast broadband here in Laversdale, we have only just got Muesli.

so go on prove me wrong, we are always the last to get anything

Posted by Mark on 25 February 2014 at 18:53

View all 34 comments on this article

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