GETTING online in some of our communities still remains a dream for many.

The Government says rural residents and business in Cumbria are now entitled to a broadband upgrade paid for by the government.

The new digital borderland full-fibre voucher top-up scheme has just begun to provide funding to rural communities in Cumbria, in superfast ‘not spots’ in the Lake District.

Each applicant can have funding of up to £1,500 towards the costs of upgrades with the small and medium-sized business having funding of up to £3,500 towards the costs. The cash goes towards supporting the cost of installing broadband gigabit-connections.

One of the first to put his hand up and ask for help was Gavin Keeble who lives just south of Grisedale. He set up his business just as working from home became an inevitable fact of life.

He said: “The difference that the new service has made is completely cosmic.

"It has given us total peace of mind connecting to the outside world and running an international business from a beautiful and remote part of the UK, dramatically improving our businesses professionalism and capability as well as transforming our family life.”

A spokesperson for DEFRA which also looks out for rural communities said, “Rural premises in Cumbria with broadband speeds of less than 100 megabits per second, are eligible for the funding when used in group projects, which are community-led broadband scheme, where local residents join together to organise a big dig to bury the fibre cabling.” Cumbria County Council acknowledged digital connectivity has been critical during the pandemic.