Libby Bateman becomes the North West’s Digital Hero!

Lots of congratulations to Libby Bateman, who was at the House of Lords this afternoon to pick up her £5000 prize for winning  TalkTalk’s North West Digital Hero award 2011.


Libby Bateman with Charles Dunstone, chairman of Talk Talk, Martha Lane-Fox, UK Digital champion, and others at the House of Lords.

She beat two other nominees to win the prize. She sadly missed out on the national prize of £10,000 but will come back to Cumbria with £5000 for the East Cumbria Community Broadband Forum.

In case you missed them, here are the articles about Libby in the Westmorland Gazette and the News & Star.

Well done Libby!

Jeremy Hunt meets Eden’s Broadband Champions

Jeremy Hunt, the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport –and the Minister in charge of broadband – was in Penrith yesterday where he met some of Eden’s Broadband Champions.

Jeremy Hunt MP, Sec of State, Miles Mandelson, Gt Asby Broadband Champion, Lindsey Annison, Warcop Broadband Champion, Rory Stewart MP

Best of all, he ‘virtually’ opened Warcop’s Cyberbarn by fusing together a fibre-optic cable (with some help from Lindsey Annison!).

Rory said: “I was delighted to introduce Jeremy to some of the key players of the East Cumbria Community Broadband Forum. And it was a real honour to have him virtually open the Warcop Cyberbarn by actually fusing a piece of fibre-optic cable! It’s been great that the Secretary of State has seen just how effective our community broadband activists are here in Eden, and to see how Cumbria is driving forward the government’s superfast broadband agenda. I’d also like to congratulate Lindsey on the opening of the Cyberbarn, which will be an amazing resource for the people of Warcop and the surrounding area.”

Lindsey has some great videos of the meeting on her blog:

Cyberbarn, Warcop and Bleatarn, is open on Mondays, Wednesdays and Friday between 1 and 7pm. Fibre, 3G And satellite technologies are on show. UK Online Basics course are available on everything from email to online safety, DEFRA to CTS, social media to computer programming.

Mobile Coverage updates

A couple of things. First, the House of Commons culture, media and sport committee has published it’s long-awaited report on spectrum policy. You can read it here.

mob 1

The committee has thrown its weight firmly behind the idea of increasing the coverage obligation attached to one 4G licence to 98% of the population.

It also urges Ofcom and BDUK to work closely with each other to ensure that lack of backhaul doesn’t become the excuse that Mobile Network Operators give for not providing coverage in rural areas. This means that deployments like Connecting Cumbria should also be undertaken with an eye on what the MNOs might need.Easier said than done!

Second, yesterday Ofcom launched online coverage maps comparing levels of outdoor mobile phone coverage and superfast broadband availability by local authority. You can check them outhere.

mob 2

According to the maps, 97% of premises and 66% of the UK landmass can receive a 2G signal outdoors from all four 2G networks.

This means that approximately 900,000 UK premises do not have a choice of all four 2G mobile networks.

For 3G, 73% of premises and 13% of the UK’s landmass can receive a signal outdoors from all five 3G networks, with lower coverage in less densely populated areas.

This means that approximately 7.7million UK premises do not have a choice of all five 3G mobile networks.

Now that £150m is available to build base stations in rural areas check out Ofcom’s sitefinder tool to see what’s near you (and where no doubt base stations are missing!)