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Cumbria County Council is to invest £2.5 million promoting the benefits of super-fast broadband to businesses in the region.

The authority has announced plans for "an integrated business support programme" to advocate the merits of such services, as the county's network is upgraded.

Under the Connecting Cumbria plan - which is funded by £23 million of successful grants - super-fast broadband will be rolled out across 93 per cent of the county by 2015.

The county council recently awarded the broadband rollout contract to telecoms giant BT.

Alan Cook, Programme Manager for Connecting Cumbria, said the £2.5 million will fund business support.

"It will make businesses aware of the ways broadband can give them real benefits," he stated.

However, the announcement has been met with criticism in some quarters.

Speaking to the News and Star, Solway Communications' Nick Kittoe said that for £2.5 million, it could provide synchronous internet access up to 250Mb to at least 90 per cent of the county’s businesses.

“Why does the county want to spend this vast sum on stimulating demand for a service that businesses are evidently already clamouring for?" he questioned.

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