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Residents and businesses set to benefit from Broadband Upgrade Fund

Cumbria County Council has welcomed the recent launch of the government’s Broadband Upgrade Fund campaign designed to help businesses, employees and rural communities take advantage of all the benefits associated with faster, and more reliable, internet connections.

The government is offering rural residents up to £1,500 and small to medium sized businesses up to £3,500 to upgrade to gigabit broadband, which is capable of download speeds of 1 gigabit (1000 megabits) per second.

As part of the £394.5m Borderlands Growth Deal, up to £4 million of additional Government funding will ‘top up’ these vouchers in Cumbria and Northumberland so even more money is available to improve digital connectivity and boost the regional economy. The £4 million made available will be used to match the level of funding available under the Broadband Upgrade Fund in areas where available services are less than 30Mbps download speed, so that eligible businesses can now apply for up to a maximum of £7,000 and eligible residential properties up to £3,000.

Upgrading to gigabit broadband will mean homes and businesses in Cumbria have the world-class, future-proof and reliable internet connections that they need to keep pace with new advances in technology, and the jobs and growth that comes with it, now and in the decades to come.

Cllr Stewart Young, Leader of Cumbria County Council, said: “The Broadband Upgrade Fund, combined with the top-up secured through the Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal, will help deliver significantly better broadband to rural areas and to businesses and I’d encourage all eligible residents and businesses to look into this scheme now to see if they can benefit from it.”

Residents and businesses can visit the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme website at https://broadband-upgrade-fund.campaign.gov.uk/ to find a list of suppliers in their local area.

The economic and social benefits of high-speed internet connections are central to the Borderlands vision for the region and have been proven doubly important during the Covid-19 restrictions and as part of the recovery plan from this crisis. More information on the Borderlands top up vouchers can be found on the Borderlands Partnership website at https://www.borderlandsgrowth.com/Digital-Voucher-Scheme.

Applications for broadband vouchers must be submitted by a supplier, on behalf of their customer, by the 31 March 2021.

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