Cumbria County Council is aiming to provide gigabit connectivity to public sector buildings as part of its new digital strategy.
It has identified the measure as one of the key action plans to build connectivity around the county.
The newly published strategy points to a range of projects to build up the local digital infrastructure, including the aim to boost connectivity to public sector premises and hub sites such as schools and GP surgeries.
“Such connectivity will then support expansion to other local residential and business premises, potentially supported by voucher schemes,” the document says.
Other action plans include: working with planning authorities and other bodies to ensure new development provide gigabit capable connectivity; looking for UK Government funding opportunities; working with partners on 5G research and development; and granting planning permissions and wayleaves to support the development of mobile infrastructure.
The document sets targets for 2025 including 99% full fibre coverage for the county, up from the current 5.8%, and 99% superfast coverage of at least 24Mbps, from the current 94.3%.
Councillor David Southward, Cumbria County Council’s cabinet member for economic development and property, said: “The importance of digital connectivity is increasing as it becomes more critical to the modern day lives of residents and productivity of businesses. This importance has been further highlighted by the coronavirus crisis and as we recover and restart, access to fast, reliable internet connectivity is no longer a luxury; it is a basic necessity for residents, local businesses and the delivery of public services.
“From living and working in Cumbria, I know first-hand some of the challenges in delivering infrastructure in our county. However, I also know how transformative good connectivity can be.
“As portfolio holder for economic development, digital infrastructure is my top priority given the significant economic and social benefits for Cumbria.”
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