Cumbria’s MEP highlights success of Connecting Cumbria Superfast Broadband

Sajjad Karim who represent Cumbia as part of his North West constituency, has spoken in the European Parliament on the importance of the Digital Single Market.

Speaking yesterday in the Parliament’s Plenary session in Strasbourg, Sajjad cited the success of the Connecting Cumbria project as positive example of how the Digital Single Market can benefit small businesses across the EU, particularly in our less accessible rural areas.

Speaking during the debate Saj said:

“President, Commissioner, you have very correctly identified some of the core issues that we must address; better access across the European Union; high quality infrastructure and certainly in my constituency in the North West of England in Cumbria, we are seeing the benefits of broadband connectivity provided through the European Union. So much else you have put forward here that must be delivered, but from a citizen’s viewpoint this is a crucial test for the European Union.

“But we are already behind so far as our citizens are concerned, so many of them are already frustrated. When they pass through actual borders they do it seamlessly, but every time they do so we reinforce a virtual border for them in real terms and when the low is an ass people will find a way around it and that is what we must do to ensure that they don’t have to do that.

“Recent telecoms experience dictates to us that actually time is of the essence – so many of our new start-ups are crying out for their vision to be fulfilled through the digital single market. Please allow us to deliver that for them and do not allow it to be constrained by the short sightedness and small mindedness by some of the contributors demonstrated in this debate today.”

Cumbria has led the way rolling out superfast broadband. The work was commissioned and delivered under the Conservatives and the County has benefitted from   £17.1m coming from Broadband Development UK (BDUK), £13.7m from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and £5m through the Performance Reward Grant (PRG) from all councils in Cumbria. Superfast broadband is currently being rolled out across over 90% of the County, helping local businesses become more competitive and creating jobs.

NOTE: Other areas of the North West have also secured national government and EU funding for superfast broadband projects:

Connecting Cheshire –  £28.5m project consisting of £9m from BT, whilst the Partnership is contributing £1.85m, with a further £4m coming from the Government’s Broadband Delivery (BDUK) funds and £13.6m from European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)

Merseyside Connected –  £15.9m  BT is contributing £6 million towards the overall cost of deployment in “non-commercial” areas while European funding (ERDF) is contributing £4.4 million, with £5.46 million coming from the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) fund.

 Greater Manchester  - £15m BT is contributing £4.6 million towards the overall cost of deployment in ‘non-commercial’ areas, and the eight councils are investing £2.5 million. The European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) is contributing nearly £5 million**, with a further £3 million coming from the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) fund.

Superfast Lancashire - BT is contributing £30 million to the project whilst £10.8 million will come from Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK), £16.5 million from the European Regional Development Fund and £5.2 million from local councils (£4.7m from LCC, £300,000 from Blackburn with Darwen Council and £230,000 from Blackpool Council).