Although the average broadband speed across Cumbria is apparently close to the national average (about 6 Megabits per second, Mbps), the speed in rural Cumbria is well below this. I just checked my speed here in Loweswater (some distance from the local exchange in Lorton), and it was about 3 Mbps, which is appreciably higher than the 2 Mbps when I have checked it before. You can check your speed at this link here.
East Cumbria seems to have benefited enormously from the enthusiasm of the Penrith MP Rory Stewart in trying to improve rural broadband access (see here), but the West Cumbria MPs don’t seem to see this as such a priority. Things might be set to change (but don’t get too excited just yet) with Cumbria’s success in attracting government funding (about £24M in total) to bring Superfast broadband (defined as speeds > 25 Mbps) to the County. This is being led by the County Council and co-ordinated through the Connecting Cumbria Partnership. You can read their latest newsletter here. At the end of September 2012, BT was awarded this contract with the following objectives:
Deliver optimum geographic coverage, aiming for 100% coverage across the Cumbria sub-region, including rural, remote and sparsely populated areas to a minimum speed of 2mb per second.
Deliver a wholesale broadband which delivers the greatest access speeds (data throughput) to as many businesses and consumers as possible to Cumbria and its partners.
The contractor will be expected to work with a county council approved supply chain to assist community groups