Cumbria community digs NHS-funded fibre

Cumbria community digs NHS-funded fibre

Summary: The Alston Moor area will have next-generation broadband connectivity by the end of the year, thanks to a social enterprise rollout that is partly funded by the NHS


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  • A community in Cumbria is installing its own next-generation broadband access, with the aim of turning on the fibre-based connectivity by the end of the year.

    Alston Moor, based around the town of Alston, will get the high-speed broadband access through a social enterprise called Cybermoor. The company's chief executive, Daniel Heery, told ZDNet UK on Monday that the equipment being installed was capable of giving speeds of up to 100Mbps, but residents would have to make do with 20Mbps when the network goes live.

    "We're currently in the process of securing 20Mbps backhaul," Heery said, adding that 100Mbps backhaul — referring to the connection between the access part of the network and the core network — "tends to be quite costly, so we have to wait for the prices to fall".

    The backhaul link will be based on a microwave link between Alston Moor and Telewest's network in Newcastle. Deploying the masts and link will incur a one-off cost of around £100,000, Heery said, whereas other ISPs quoted more than £50,000 per year for extending their networks to the area.

    All photos are courtesy of Cybermoor.

  •  This picture shows fibre ducting waiting to be laid.

    Cybermoor's deployment is being supported by a mix of community and public sector funding, including money from the NHS, Heery said.

    "One of the key things we intend to do is around telehealth," Heery said. "[The NHS] will be using devices to monitor people's blood pressure, blood oxygen levels and weight at home. Nurses can monitor these things remotely and intervene [if necessary]. It saves the NHS quite a lot of money in terms of ambulance, hospital beds and so on."

Topics: Government UK, Broadband, Networking

David Meyer

About David Meyer

David Meyer is a freelance technology journalist. He fell into journalism when he realised his musical career wouldn't pay the bills. David's main focus is on communications, as well as internet technologies, regulation and mobile devices.

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  • I think its...

    Great that community projects like this can happen, but there's being some stipulation over the amount of money that the local NHS had to invest in it, although they will draw some use from it I don't think that much money should have being invested in to it from the NHS.

    Maybe half of that figure should have being invested only.
  • NHS spending question

    I often wonder how long it will be before the whole NHS budget is spend on adminstration and non real medical applications.
    I cannot believe that the local NHS should spend on such as this, however worthy it might be, and cannot believe that their stated usage will ever justify the outlay.
    Such social outlay should be borne by local authorities, i.e. funded by local users and usage charges.