Why a campaign?

What is Broadband?

The term ‘broadband’ describes any Internet connection over which information travels faster than 2Mbps. In other words, broadband is a speed of connection, not a specific technology.

Why does connection speed matter?

The faster your connection, the more you can look at. Modern Internet applications produce more and more information, or data, which is measured in bytes. A typical email is just a few thousand bytes, but standard quality BBC iPlayer, for instance, requires a continuous 800 thousand bits per second.

Why don’t rural areas have good broadband?

The speed of your Internet connection depends on the length of the telephone line between your home and your telephone exchange. If this distance is over 3 miles, you won’t be able to get broadband.

What is superfast broadband?

Superfast broadband is a 100Mpbs connection. But superfast broadband should be defined by its quality as well its speed. It should mean universal mobile coverage and fibre optic cable to as many homes and businesses as possible. We’ve had a stab at defining it in the Eden Declaration.

Why do we need superfast broadband?

With superfast broadband, our farmers could fill out forms online. Our B&Bs could market themselves around the world. ‘Creative’ industries would move to the Eden Valley. Parkinson’s sufferers could talk to their neurologists without leaving home via videolink. Many of us could work from home. People might decide again to work and bring their families up in our villages.

Superfast broadband is not an end in itself, but the means to so much more: the benefits will be incalculable. Every single one of us will see our lives change for the better.

What about mobile broadband, wireless and satellite?

Each of these technologies will play a part in making superfast broadband a reality in very rural areas such as ours. But none of them can compete with fibre optic cable in terms of the speed and quality of the connection or how cheap and easy it would be to upgrade them at a later date.

What is the Cumbrian Broadband pilot?

BDUK, the government’s delivery vehicle for broadband policy, is in the process of working out the scope and scale of the pilot along with Cumbria County Council. You can find out more on their website. We’re expecting more details very soon.

What part can communities play?

They can survey and map current broadband use and demand in their area. They can help their friends and neighbours, local government, and businesses to think about the benefits of superfast broadband. They can work out how superfast broadband could be delivered to their community using their unique knowledge of the local landscape. They can help negotiate concessions on wayleaves. They can even design, build and own their own broadband networks!

Check out our My Community page to get in touch with other campaigners in your parish and across the region. Do browse our groups and forum to find out more about what communities can do to increase their chances of getting superfast broadband. Here also are some questions to think about.