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VIDEO: Home and businesses in Cockermouth are cock-a-hoop over superfast broadband

The people of Cockermouth are going cock-a-hoop over the difference high-speed fibre broadband is making to their lives.

Around 7,000 homes and businesses in the market town now have access to the technology as a result of work carried out by Openreach, the business responsible for Britain’s largest phone and broadband network, for the Connecting Cumbria programme.

The town and two of its small, high street businesses, Hummingbird House and Cockermouth Travel, feature in a new video, produced by Connecting Cumbria, which shows how businesses are saving time and money by using the high-speed service.

In the video, Claire Rayment, owner of Hummingbird House, a home interiors and gift shop, explains the difference it has made to her business.

Claire said: “We found that fibre broadband has really helped our business to expand and grow. We can have our website up 24/7 so we can fulfil orders and answer customer enquiries more quickly. Re-ordering stock is a lot faster and we find uploading our accounts forms and processing our transactions are quicker too.

“Overall, it’s allowed us to take more orders and improved our efficiency.”

Cockermouth Travel, based a few doors down from Hummingbird House, has also found the connection speed has greatly improved efficiency and enabled cost savings.

Paul Cusack, owner of Cockermouth Travel, said: “Firstly, when we’re sat here with customers we can show them things very, very quickly. There’s no delay and waiting for pages to come up.

“Also, during the booking process, the time savings over the course of the day for seven desks and seven members of the team are phenomenal.

“Second is the obvious cost benefit by being able to do things electronically. Plus the security from our point of view and knowing that all of our data is backed up instantly using the high speed lines.”

Jonathan Harris, Connecting Cumbria senior programme manager, added:  “It’s great to see communities like Cockermouth get access to superfast broadband including businesses like these.

“But it’s not just businesses…it’s residents and schoolchildren and it’s vital to have access to superfast infrastructure to keep market towns like Cockermouth alive.”

The benefits of faster broadband speeds are considerable for businesses, particularly those serving the thousands of visitors who flock to the area every year. They can access booking systems, update websites and utilise social networking sites faster and more effectively, saving both time and money.

Increased speeds are also of great value to local families. Everyone in the family can do their own thing online, all at the same time, whether it’s downloading music in minutes or watching catch-up TV; streaming HD or 3D movies in a few minutes; or posting photos and videos to social networking sites in seconds. It will also improve access to new job opportunities, and make it easier to shop around for cheaper services.

Matthew Hemmings, Openreach infrastructure director for the North, said: “We get a huge amount of feedback from people about the importance of fibre broadband and the difference it makes to their lives.

“I know that it’s making a huge difference for businesses and households in and around the Cockermouth area.”

Connecting Cumbria is working hard to provide the best connectivity possible for areas not currently featured in the roll-out plans within the funding available.

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