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Friday, 24 October 2014

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Superfast broadband ‘key to maximising potential’

One of the nation’s biggest business gurus has said that bringing superfast broadband to as many businesses as possible is vital in Cumbria.

Digby Jones photo
Lord Digby Jones, the former CBI director, at Rural Growth Hub meeting in Ambleside

Lord Digby Jones, former CBI director and current appearing in BBC Two television’s The New Troubleshooter, told county businesses that it was now crucial to be connected to superfast broadband.

He was speaking at the launch of the new Rural Growth Hub in Ambleside, a facility that offers businesses broadband speeds of 100 mb/s.

Mr Jones said: “This is in a rural environment incredibly important – there should be universal high speed broadband within every facility.

“It’s as simple as that. Roads, railways, airports, excellent, there has been massive improvements in that but the modern highway is sitting at the desk of every desk in Cumbria.

“The only way to get that is spend money, not blame BT.

“I think this hub is spot on, a great example of dealing with businesses that feel alone.

“Businesses can come here and use the high speed broadband which is their route to getting to a richer person in the middle of China.”

He is one of many who say that bringing superfast broadband to everyone in the county will bring a raft of benefits, particularly considering its rural landscape.

David Browne, who runs his photography and animation business, DPB Images, from the centre said: “It’s gone very well here in the business hub, I’d like to stay for quite a while.

“It’s important to have a hub here in the Lake District as everyone is very spread out.

“Having a fast internet connection is essential as I upload a lot of large files, videos and photos, so that’s a benefit of being based in the growth hub.”

Superfast broadband is being rolled out across the county by BT and Cumbria County Council, in a project called Connecting Cumbria.

However, only 93 per cent of the county will get superfast speeds of more than 24 mb/s, with the remaining seven per cent guaranteed speeds of more than 2 mb/s.

Leo White, managing director of Hydrant digital agency in Carlisle, added: “There is huge potential for Cumbria to grasp this opportunity and offer a relaxed lifestyle while working connected with the rest of the world.

“Getting high speed internet everywhere is certainly a critical part of this but collaboration and partnerships among the specialists already here is also a key part of realising our potential.”

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