Broadband Development

by Charles Paxton, ex-Parish Broadband Champion and Director of Eden Valley Digital.

Thank you for checking this page.  In keeping with wishes expressed by respondents in the Lyvennet Community Plan survey report published in 2009 for improved broadband (p.42),  as our Parish representative I joined a wider group of representatives from the Leith Lyvennet communities (those sharing the Leith Lyvennet Church Newsletter) to investigate the best options for increasing local broadband service. Click Here To See Why We Need Fast Broadband

Latest News: Crosby Ravensworth and Maulds Meaburn will be connected to Superfast Broadband sometime soon. See for the latest information.

Older news.

Connecting Cumbria Project Team have received EU clearance for their plans. Local Hub Coordinators are liaising with Openreach. (More details)

Report regarding Broadband tabled by Charles Paxton at May 8th Parish Council MeetingOver 40% of properties in our Parish returned surveys and CCC think they may have sufficient datanow to apply for RCBF funding. They have been communicating with RCBF and are awaiting financialdata from BT. DEFRA will make the key decision whether or not to release the funds, CumbriaCounty Council’s Cabinet will play an important role in deciding how we might be served.Community broadband development is part and parcel of CCC’s service to rural communities.  There is £1.4 million in the Rural Community Broadband Fund (RCBF) that could be releasedby DEFRA to Cumbria County Council to serve six areas mentioned in the recent survey includingEden Valley Digital and Great Asby Broadband group (The Leith Lyvennet Parishes plus MilesMandleson’s Community broadband customers and hopefully some outliers on Gaythorne plain) viaConnecting Cumbria’s Shap Extension depending upon the evaluation of the EVD and GAB research. Thank you to all who assisted with this survey. Please see for news on the Connecting Cumbria Project and speed tester.
Eden Valley Digital News will be posted to this blog (

Identified as an eye-wateringly difficult task by our MP for Penrith and The Border, Rory Stewart, we are grateful for the full support of the Connecting Cumbria team (Community groups, Cumbria County Council, our MP, Civil servants from Broadband Development UK and BIZ. Rory Stewart MP has been working hard to secure funding assistance through BDUK to help connect rural Cumbria to the fast lanes of the informaton superhighway and has been pushing for better connectivity by landline and wireless/mobile.

Older News:

Mapping Our Access To The Information Superhighway -Penrith And The Borders Broadband Conference Shows That We Really Can Connect Cumbria’s ‘Final Third’ To The High Speed Lanes – if community engagement is sufficiently enthusiastic. Community engagement is all important. Clever folk are standing by to help us surmount the technical challenges and government is on our side – but perhaps the biggest task that we face will be the community-wide cooperation and coordination that will be necessary to pave the way for future-proof state of the art communications.

If you are very time constrained, I suggest that you read Part III last, though the weight of importance that the Americans are placing upon expanding broadband to increase small business prosperity is well worth noting!

Part I Big Society Exemplified In Grand Visions For Fast Internet In Rural Cumbria – Part 1

Part II Solutions to the backhaul – Part 2

Part III Broadband as a transformative technology – Insights From American Developments – Part 3.

Part IV   Community Development – Part 4.

Part V The Action Plan and Summation –Part 5.

For Rory Stewart’s Website Please Click Here
Many, many thanks to our citizen reporter John Popham for filming and mounting his video on Youtube

The Great Asby Case Study

Two gentlemen, Miles Mandleson and John Bevan, members of the Gt.Asby Community Interest Company (CIC) gave presentations at Rory Stewart’s November 6th Broadband Champions meeting and described the Gt.Asby broadband internet context past, present and future.

Miles Mandleson of Great Asby Broadband Group explains what they’re doing (above) and John Bevan explains how to manage a project as a Community Interest Company (below) Videos Courtesy of John Popham

Great Asby was set up with a very good optical fibre telephone system some time ago, but unfortunately its type couldn’t handle broadband or ADSL signals. So far from being in an advanced state as they had hoped, they instead found themselves left behind in terms of internet connectivity. Major providers like BT didn’t want to help, because they thought it wasn’t very profitable to fix the problem.

So the Community established a CIC (a type of company that is an Non-profit organisation often used to manage village halls) and set up their own wireless based system with the assistance of CLEO through Lancaster University. CLEO helps community facilities like schools and libraries with connection to the net on favourable terms (this is a very useful Cumbria County Council backed initiative).

They already had a 100 MBps fibre-optic connection fixed up to the school. They set up a feed from this to the Village Hall (Set up by LUNS ) offering up to 2 Mbps speed, and used a ‘Mesh system’ transmitting 2.4GHz wireless signals from there to seven routing nodes within the village. Full rate subscribers pay £20 per month, they also have separate rates for holiday homes and for short stay visitors (caravaners who pay as they go). Users have subscriber units attached to their houses that point to the nearest node. The nodes make a “cat’s cradle” of connections that lead back to the hall and so to the internet. As some people lived out of range, they put an 8th node on Goodlie Hill – this one powered by a battery that’s charged by a small wind turbine and solar array.

They now have over 60 subscribers. They are very keen to increase their subscriber base. They make about £12,000 and it costs about £3300 to run. The single major expense is paying for “Backhaul” (the potential to upload and download to and from the internet). It was not totally reliable, there’s regular loss of connection, but subscribers are tolerant, making allowance for difficulties of remote location, range is 2 Km at best. Limit to bandwidth of this mesh was 3 Mbps and not expandable.

They wanted to raise their ‘Backhaul’ to 8 or 10 Mbps, extend bandwidth signal to 5 GHz which would extend their range to 5 Kms, find a popular internet service provider and improve service reliability. (This is still a far cry from the 50Mbps that the govt. would like to see (in order to get closer to Next Generation Access targets – the Govt. are actually hoping for 100Mbps backhaul nationwide to facilitate business and telemedicine in their NGA criteria.)

The Asby CIC broadband development path has scope for further development later that will deliver NGA to households when either: it is cheaper or the CIC has enough saved up to expand its provision.

Anyway they are using their accumulated profits to start improving their service with additional help from a grant from RDPE. NextGenUs is fixing them up with a faster (Next Generation Access) system with the ultimate goal being  Fibre To The Home (FTTH). In the future they hope to run an optical fibre network to connect more homes in their community.

There was initially an attempt to get Fibre to the home with NextGenUs  (Nov 17, 2010 @ 23:57)

Thank you for checking this page. We are currently in the process of investigating the best options for increasing local broad band service. Our MP for Penrith and The Border has been working hard to secure funding assistance through BDUK to help connect rural Cumbria to the fast lanes of the informaton superhighway.

There has been a poster and leafleting campaign in Crosby Ravensworth Parish to encourage attendance at a series of public meetings about fast broadband. We are hoping that residents of Reagill will show sufficient demand for them to be included also in a Community Broadband plan that has been presented to us by NextGenUs a national Community Broadband Community Interest Company. To help explain what fast Broadband is, why it’s useful and how we can get it here – we have held three public meetings – one in Reagill Village Hall (Tuesday 23 Nov 7:30pm and one in Crosby Ravensworth Village Hall Saturday Nov 27 at  2 pm), the issue was also raised at Crosby Ravensworth Parish Council meeting on December 6. Our Parish Council voted to support the NextGenUs  CIC plan provided that there was sufficient support for it within the community to be commercially viable.

This was a very helpful result, click here for details.

The NextGenUs offer for Optical fibre connection to our homes and public buildings is described in detail here

A Communications Survey was included in your December-January double issue of The Lyvennet Link as a detachable centre-fold.

Please can you detach the centrefold , fill in the survey as soon as is comfortably possible and return it either:

  • To the cardboard box in Crosby Ravensworth Bus Shelter
  • To the box in Margaret Wilcox’s front porch in Reagill
  • To the green box in Maulds Meaburn Bus Shelter
  • To the little green metal bucket on the step outside Charles Paxton’s home at Greywalls, Maulds Meaburn

Nick Thomas and Lisa have done us proud, the information in the Link looks great and is now circulating thanks to the stalwart delivery network.

I hope we’ll eventually get a fairly good picture of our Parish communications situation.
I have sent one by email to Lisa and Tim Ayres at the school (this is likely to be a very key return). I’m hoping that whatever we do can benefit school too and thus all the local children. It would be really something to fix the school up with a fast fibre connection! NextGenUs have offered the school a 100Mbps for the same price that they’re currently paying for 10 Mbps.

LVC Fast Broadband Poster

2 thoughts on “Broadband Development

  1. Hi – still no sign of superfast broadband in Crosby Ravensworth – any news/updates please?
    Malcolm Ridgway

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