The Sustainable Development Fund (SDF) aims to support projects that will improve access to broadband across the whole of the National Park. In the last couple of years, it has helped get a number of community broadband schemes off the ground.
Superfast broadband reaches out
Broadband is critically important for remote rural communities like those in the National Park.
High quality broadband has multiple benefits, making an area more attractive to new businesses, allowing existing businesses to improve their services and extend their reach, and empowering communities to access web-based facilities to overcome some of the challenges caused by their remoteness.
Although mainstream providers of broadband services have made much progress in improving coverage, some parts of the National Park remain out of reach or still suffer from poor speeds.
A number of communities have decided to take matters into their own hands and look at alternative ‘superfast’ broadband.
Broadband for the Rural North (B4RN) is a community benefit society. This sees communities raise the investment required to provide the network, while reducing costs through voluntary labour and a more cost-effective means of installing the under-ground fibre cable.
The B4RN model has proved to be very successful and is expanding all the time. Garsdale Head has recently become connected and broadband speeds have been greatly improved. The Authority’s Sustainable Development Fund provided £10,000 towards a connection cabinet at Garsdale Village Hall and this essential infrastructure enabled the network to expand. The next stage will be to continue to increase the network north towards the Upper Eden valley.
Other completed projects
- Installation of superfast broadband (B4RN) for Clapham (£10,000)
- B4RN cabinet, superfast broadband, Sedbergh Town, Cautley & Dowbiggin (£20,000)
- B4RN cabinet, superfast broadband, Sedbergh – Firbank, Howgill, Marthwaite & Killington (£10,000)
- Installation of superfast broadband (B4RN) for Chapel le Dale, phase 2 (£9,970)
- Installation of superfast broadband (B4RN) for Lunds (£10,000)
- Installation of superfast broadband (B4RN) for Mallerstang (£10,000)
- Installation of superfast broadband (B4RN) for Cotterdale (£10,000)
- Installation of superfast broadband (B4RN) for Wharton & Ravenstonedale (£40,000)