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Cumbria County Council has issued a tender for the construction and management of a £44 million wholesale broadband network.

The authority is inviting bids from the private sector for the contract, which will run for an initial period of seven years and include the provision of IT services.

As part of the project, the successful bidder will be required to promote the increased use of broadband - and wider availability of internet services - in rural areas of the county.

"The contractor will be expected to work with a County Council-approved supply chain to assist community groups to secure a connectivity upgrade for very rural areas," the tender said.

"The project must support the needs of rural communities keen to make their own contribution."

Cumbria County Council noted that rural communities must be included in any rollout in order for the authority to qualify for Broadband Delivery UK funding.

The body has been charged with overseeing the allocation of funding from the coalition government's £830 million broadband investment pot.

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