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Cumbria keen to advance super-fast broadband plans
The county council is mulling over becoming the accountable body for the area's broadband plans.Cumbria is looking to push ahead with plans for a multimillion pound super-fast broadband network that will be one of the best in Europe by 2015.
The county has been promised £10 million of government funding for the project in an effort to help residents and businesses benefit from the numerous financial opportunities associated with having access to a fast internet connection.
However, this cash has still yet to be confirmed by the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition, despite the decision to make Cumbria one of the test sites for super-fast broadband being made six months ago.
North Yorkshire, Herefordshire and the Highlands and Islands are also due to receive funding to establish their own pilot schemes.
According to the News & Star, Cumbria County Council (CCC) has adopted a key role in the negotiations to bring improved broadband to the area and could be set to take the lead on the application for public money.
Bosses at the local authority will be told this step will help to "focus and direct effort" on the bid for faster broadband.
Possible test sites for the project could be identified in the coming days.
Jim Savege, corporate director for regional development at CCC, said the people of Cumbria are becoming increasingly dissatisfied with their broadband services.
"Super-fast broadband is required to ensure Cumbria continues to develop its economy, enhance communication links to rural communities and provide a service delivery platform for more efficient public sector services," he explained in a report to councillors.
"This project raises our profile nationally and puts us in the best position to attract funding from the public and private sectors to achieve our goal of providing the best-in-Europe connectivity by 2015."
A decision is due to be taken on Thursday (April 28th 2011) as to whether or not council chiefs agree with the broadband scheme's targets.
If the plans get the green light, the authority will become the accountable body for the project and a joint statement of intent with government organisation Broadband Delivery UK will be signed.