Cornwall set for superfast broadband

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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.

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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.

5 COMMENTS

  1. So, “The project will benefit TENS OF THOUSANDS of local businesses,create 4000 NEW local jobs, and protect a further 2000” this beauty is the opening paragraph of Cornwall Council’s website, where have we heard this before? old cynics like me know this venture is doomed, as the architects of it are the Council and the Cornwal Development Company. No work has yet been done to find out how many premises are able to accept fibre deployment, one would think this would be high on the list of things to know before you start, how much will it cost the customer is another, as I feel many small businesses will be unable to afford this new world as I discovered when Actnow was first launched. I agree with the above comments and I wonder how much consultation has preceded the announcement.I shall watch this development with interest.

  2. I took advantage of ActNow broadband, and it certainly helped my business. So this is great news for Cornwall IF it does what it says on the tin. However I wonder how many jobs that are being created will be directly linked to “rolling out” the programme and all the other periphal “business support” functions. Too often there seem to be nearly as many people employed in supporting these prgrammes as there are businesses helped.

  3. If this investment can indeed do what it is claiming (create 4,000 new jobs and save 2,000 more) then it will cost £8,833 (Our contribution only) per job saved or created. Is that good value for our money? Probably, so if it delivers great. My problem is that I am slightly sceptical of the numbers of jobs that will be created/saved. A faster connection would not enable my businesses to justify taking on more staff and I think there are a limited number of businesses that would be able to take on new staff as a result. The technology will be outdated fairly soon, so if it only created 500 jobs it would be a disaster. Is there not a more imaginative way of delivering this technology, particularly to those without any broadband at the moment, linked to actual economic benefit that ensures we are guaranteed value for our money?

  4. Will this upgrade to broadband super speed include those properties who do not have access to broadband.We are one of numerous properties who require for business purposes,but have no access. BT do not seem to be interested in this problem,I would imagine this would be different if we were on an estate. It is annoying that despite this ,we are still expected to pay the same line rental etc!

  5. So BT are subsidised by almost 50% to upgrade their own network and still 20% of businesses and homes will not have decent Broadband access. Wouldn’t the money be better spent connecting all those who want / need service at resonable rates (Satellite is too restrictive for many).

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