Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly is set to become one of the best-connected locations in the world under an ambitious £132 million project announced today by BT and Cornwall Council.
The Duchy will benefit from faster broadband thanks to the creation of a high speed network, with the aim of giving between 80% and 90% of local businesses and homes access to superfast fibre broadband by 2014, with speeds of up to 100Mbps.
Businesses and homes outside the fibre footprint will also receive faster speeds than they do today through a mix of alternative technologies such as advanced copper, wireless and satellite broadband.
It is anticipated that the project will benefit tens of thousands of local businesses, create 4,000 new local jobs and protect a further 2,000.
BT is providing £78.5 million with ERDF Convergence investment of up to £53.5 million. Alec Robertson, Leader of Cornwall Council, said: “Building on the success of the actnow project, the introduction of next generation superfast broadband has the potential to transform the local economy over the next 20 years and we’re delighted to be working closely with BT, the South West RDA and the Convergence Programme in bringing this to Cornwall.
“Local businesses will be given an all important head start through early access to world class communications and this will dramatically increase their competitiveness. The high speeds on offer will attract new business investment into Cornwall, creating thousands of new job opportunities.”
Ian Livingston, chief executive of BT, said: “This is a very significant project that once again positions Cornwall as a broadband leader. It will make the county one of the best connected areas in the world and provide a major boost to its prosperity.”
To listen to Ian Livingston’s speech in full, click here
Communications Minister Ed Vaizey commented: “This project is very exciting news for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. It shows how the public and private sectors can work together to deliver local solutions to local problems.
“Households and businesses in this largely rural area can now look forward to having one of the best broadband connections in the world, thanks to Cornwall Council’s vision, European funding and BT’s investment and expertise. The Government wants the UK to have the best broadband network in Europe by 2015, so today’s announcement is a big step towards that goal.”
The roll-out will begin immediately and run until 2014, with the first customers being connected early next year. BT will work closely with Cornwall Development Company, the council’s economic development company, to plan deployments and will also engage with planning and highways departments.
The areas to benefit will be announced on a rolling basis and will be agreed by the project partners in consultation with other broadband service providers.