In advance of BT’s £70 million superfast broadband roll-out Cumbria County Council is spending £2.5 million promoting the benefits of the services to the local business community.

The council hopes the promotion will help grow business and generate new local jobs.

However, local ISP Solway Communications has slammed the council spending as “rubbish,” reports in-cumbria.com.

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The council’s Connecting Cumbria project aims to supply speeds of 30Mbps to 90 per cent of homes and businesses.

BT will begin the roll out early next year with the mammoth project due for completion in 2014. In-cumbria reports that it is being funded by £40 million of Government and European money plus a further £30 million investment from BT.

Alan Cook, programme manager of Connecting Cumbria, told in-cumbria.com: “The £2.5 million will fund business support and is not so much about stimulating demand. It will make businesses aware of the ways broadband can give them real benefits.”

However, Nick Kittoe, of Solway Communications, described the idea to in-cumbria's Nick Turner as “demonstrable rubbish”.

The money would just be used to pay people to act as salespeople for BT’s services, he said, adding: “To put £2.5 million in context, Solway Communications is willing to go on record that for £2.5 million, it could provide synchronous internet access up to 250 Mbps 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 the county’s businesses are evidently already clamouring for - just look at the local media over recent years.”

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