Eden Declaration

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We the parishes of rural Cumbria hereby declare that isolation is the greatest threat to the sustainability of rural communities; and that better communication is vital to our society, to government services and to our economy.

We are, therefore, determined to overcome the barriers of distance by installing the best superfast broadband in Europe.

● We want 100Mbps fixed connections for the majority of people in rural Cumbria and universal mobile broadband coverage by 2012

● We aim to make at least 30 of our parishes into hyper-connected communities by 2012

● We will ensure that no one is left behind. While not everybody will share 100Mbps connections, every last dwelling in rural Cumbria will have access to 2 Mbps by 2012 and 30 Mbps by 2015

We recognise that we, the parishes of rural cumbria, must play a leading role in this process:

● Each parish will appoint a broadband champion responsible for driving our campaign

● We will aim to bring everyone in our parish online

● We will, where necessary, contribute our own labour and time, from digging trenches to negotiating concessions on wayleaves, to deliver superfast broadband more quickly and cheaply

● We will work with suppliers to reduce their costs

● We will build our own networks where necessary


1. Social and political life is based on communication. Isolation and lack of communication undermine the lives of communities and the efficiency of government

2. Communication increasingly depends on excellent data transport and access to the public Internet and all other interconnected networks. This we call ‘connectivity’

3. The basis of connectivity is data, whose throughput and quality must be sufficient to allow all critical applications to work reliably and predictably

4.  Connectivity is a limited, shared resource. The use of connectivity has no limits, except those that guarantee that other members of our community enjoy equal access

5. Connectivity exists for the general good. Citizens cannot fully explore their potential if they are isolated from one another, or isolated from information, education, and communication services. Everyone must have access to adequate connectivity

7. Geographical conditions may prevent an individual from enjoying the same level of service as is available elsewhere, but everyone in rural Cumbria should be able to achieve sufficient connectivity

We, the communities of rural Cumbria, define sufficient connectivity as

8. The connectivity speeds given in the European Commission’s Digital Agenda 2020: an expectation of 100Mbps and a minimum of 30Mbps at the edge of the network

9. A mobile broadband service capable of supporting home working applications and life support applications in the most rural areas

10. As the peak hour resources available to each user across the entire network, not a mere theoretical ‘up-to speed’ in the access component of the network

11. Capable of supporting real-time video telephony in the busy period

12. A TV terrestrial Broadcast network that delivers all channels to all customers

We, the communities of rural Cumbria, expect

13. Mobile operators to build and operate one network, sharing resources and radio spectrum between them to offer complete coverage

14. Fixed operators to run fibre networks deep (backhaul) and wide (access) to replace existing infrastructure wherever possible and remove all legacy network costs

15. All operators to make available the full potential of universal connectivity and not seek to create scarcity from a plentiful resource

We, the communities of rural Cumbria, expect

16. The VOA to zero rate all communication installations until these installations achieve the same volume as achieved in urban areas

17. Ofcom to fulfil its duties under the Communication Act 2003 to ensure that communications services are made available to rural users and to ensure that efficient use is made of the radio spectrum for all users, not just those living in densely populated areas

18. Central government to invest in communications infrastructure in rural areas in order to transform public service delivery in areas such as health care, social care, education, community capacity building, and economic development

19. Local authorities to facilitate construction upgrades including roadside digs and to assist central government in its efforts to transform public service delivery in areas such as health care, social care, education, community capacity building, and economic development

In return, we, the communities of rural Cumbria, will

20. Work with our neighbours to stimulate and aggregate demand, including mass migration of all customers to the new connectivity platforms, allowing old platforms and costs to be retired

21. Provide access to land and power sources for communications equipment

22. Negotiate concessions on wayleaves

23. Provide resources for the construction of civil infrastructure in accordance with best practice

In return, we, the communities of rural Cumbria, will

24. Work with suppliers to reduce their cost of connection by using our own resources to complete access networks

25. Build our own networks where the demand and wherewithal exists

26. Continue to refine requirements, particularly the convergence of fixed and mobile resources

27. Partake in publicity events to promote the benefits of a fully connected community

28. Work with central and local government to transform public service delivery in areas such as health care, social care, education, community capacity building, and economic development

29. Become the first rural communities in Britain and Europe to move entire parishes to next generation access.

Author: the communities of Cumbria