B4RN is expecting an update from DCMS soon which will mean projects in parts of Cumbria and Northumberland can go ahead.
It’s a fortnight since B4RN – backed by volunteers, our communities and local MPs – secured 11th hour changes to plans to pause voucher funding in those counties under Project Gigabit.
The introduction of ‘Voucher Priority Areas’ means many B4RN projects in Cumbria and Northumberland will not only go ahead, but will still be eligible for gigabit voucher funding.
Speaking during a visit to celebrate Crosthwaite Primary School’s 10Gbps connection, B4RN CEO Michael Lee said: “DCMS and the new Digital Minister, Julia Lopez, have listened. Getting government policy changed is a rare thing and I thank everyone who backed the campaign.
“The government are still ironing out exactly where the ‘Voucher Priority Areas’ will be. Once we have this information, we’ll be able to confirm the good news to many of our volunteer groups in Cumbria and Northumberland that B4RN is coming to their community.”
South Lakes MP Tim Farron added: “Following on from our debate in Parliament last month. I’m really encouraged that it looks like the Government have listened to our calls and we now have real hope for many of our local communities.
“I’ve been proud to work alongside B4RN and their wonderful volunteers in making this case to ministers, and now I’m just keeping all fingers and toes crossed that B4RN will be given the final green light to crack on with connecting as many of our local rural villages as possible with hyperfast broadband.”
Once DCMS has decided on ‘Voucher Priority Areas’, B4RN CEO Michael Lee and COO Tom Rigg will communicate directly to affected volunteer groups what it means for their project area.
In the meantime, Michael has recorded this update for affected volunteers: