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Communications firm Gridline has launched a pilot scheme using electricity power lines to deliver broadband services to rural communities.

The Texas-based company is testing the technology in the village of Shap, Cumbria, as it bids to prove the feasibility of the technology.

Situated ten miles from Penrith, the nearest main town, Shap currently suffers from relatively poor broadband coverage.

When the pilot scheme is fully up and running at the end of June, businesses and households in the village will have access to vastly improved broadband services.

Rory Stewart, MP for Penrith and the Border, described the project as being "fantastic news" for the Cumbrian economy and rural areas at this very challenging time.

"It will help people to work from and continue to live in remote communities and help those who live in rural Cumbria to overcome the barrier of distance," he stated.

Mr Stewart said the initiative was "a dream come true" for local people.

Last October, Cumbria was named as one of four locations for publically-funded broadband pilot schemes to be staged, along with the Highlands & Islands, North Yorkshire and Herefordshire.

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