by Charles Paxton
BroadbandCumbria.Com is an exciting new communications hub set up to help communities find out about fast broadband opportunities and to talk to each other about plans and developments in their immediate and wider area. We’ve never seen anything quite like this before. It really is quite a revolutionary social experiment in community communications. Community broadband champions from villages across the Upper and Lower Eden Valley and beyond are gathering online under the banner of Rory Stewart’s campaign for better communications in his Penrith and the Border constituency. The rapidly increasing membership is hoping that fast broadband will help connect many communities (that have really hitherto seemed fairly geographically isolated dots on the map) both to one another and then on to the wider world with the powerful advantage of very fast speed!
To my knowledge this is the first time that this sort of campaign has ever been organised and it is very interesting to see how it is developing. The benefits for us could be very far reaching in terms of enhancing our quality of life, not least in terms of the new friendships and contacts being forged every hour, between many people who otherwise might never have met.
There has been a flood of interest in the evolving website, which is in effect a cluster of community microsites joined to the central hub of broadbandcumbria.com. Membership is free and takes just a few moments to complete. A list of communities that already have a microsite and those that have been offered one are visible here: http://broadbandcumbria.com/community/
The Leith-Lyvennet microsite can be found at http://leith-lyvennet.broadbandcumbria.com This is for people in the ecclesiastical parishes of Crosby Ravensworth (Maulds Meaburn and Reagill), Morland (inc Newby, Sleagill, Kings Meaburn), Great Strickland, Little Strickland (Thrimby), Cliburn and Bolton. Let us know what you think of it so far, it’s a work in progress, and if you see opportunities for improvement, then please let me know.
The Eden Declaration
One of the most important results to emerge so far is the communal development of a document that succinctly and powerfully condenses our needs and desires in respect of improved communications infrastructure. It cuts to the chase. I urge everybody in Eden to read The Eden Declaration and, if you agree with its content, to sign it as soon as possible!
To sign the petition, please go to cumbriabroadband.com and register. Then go to ‘your account’, click on ‘profile’, click on ‘edit profile’, and scroll down until you see a ‘sign the petition’ box.
Tick this box and your name will appear on the list of signatories on the petition page: http://broadbandcumbria.com/sign-the-petition/
Current non-members have the option of signing the petition when they create an account on the site. It’s free to join. So, please pass this news on to your friends and neighbours by word of mouth, email, post, Facebook, Twitter, door-to-door at Church or at socials – any way that you can!
The more who sign-up, the merrier. It will naturally be seen as a gauge of our collective enthusiasm and desire for improved communications services.
People new to the Internet may be interested to know that there is a very user-friendly training service available locally called Myguide. I have seen my elderly father using it and he is rapidly gaining confidence and facility with the system that provides a safe and gentle introduction to browsing the web and emailing.