BT chief praises pioneering Superfast Cornwall partnership as roll-out of fibre broadband network reaches 90 per cent mark
About 50,000 Cornish homes and businesses already signed up for new technology
BT chief executive Gavin Patterson today praised the “outstanding success” of Superfast Cornwall as the partnership revealed its high-speed fibre broadband network was now in place to serve 90 per cent of Cornish homes and businesses.
Take-up of the high-speed technology by Cornish customers is also amongst the best in the UK with about 50,000 either connected or having placed an order, which represents nearly one in five of everybody in the county. Households and businesses are being connected at the rate of more than 2,000 a month.
The BT chief executive was in Cornwall today on a fact finding visit, meeting leaders of the project and local businesses benefiting from the technology. He also viewed some of the latest examples of the technology, such as ‘ultra light’ overhead fibre optic cables, which can deliver fibre to the premises (FTTP) superfast broadband.
The BT chief executive said: “Superfast Cornwall is proving an outstanding success. It has set the standard for rural areas not only in the UK, but also across the continent. Local authorities and organisations from Europe and even further afield have studied the achievements of the Superfast Cornwall partnership with a view to running their own programmes.
“Across the UK, we are now seeing successful broadband partnerships forging ahead with their own plans, but we should not forget the vision and pioneering role played by Cornwall with this exciting project. As well as building excellent fibre broadband coverage for a rural area, the partnership is achieving very strong take-up of the technology by local households and businesses. More than 50 broadband service providers are providing services over the Superfast Cornwall network, thereby ensuring that Cornish customers benefit from highly competitive products and pricing.
“It is heartening to hear from Cornish firms how superfast broadband is transforming their businesses, helping to make them more efficient, improve their services to customers and creating high value jobs.”
Superfast Cornwall, a pioneering initiative between the EU, Cornwall Council and BT, became the first superfast broadband partnership of its kind in England, Scotland and Wales when it was launched more than three years ago. Fibre broadband coverage in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly is expected to reach 95 per cent by the end of the year.
Among the Cornish businesses using the new technology is Falmouth-based creative production studio, Dogbite. The company’s ability to win new business and find new clients has been transformed since it took delivery of high-speed fibre to the premises (FTTP) broadband early last year.
General manager Michelle Taylor said: “Dogbite has really grown since the arrival of superfast broadband. The technology is absolutely vital for us. It has allowed us to compete in a way which would have been impossible in Cornwall just a few years ago.
“Being able to deliver high quality adverts to broadcasters quickly, efficiently and reliably, ensures that we are confidently able to meet tight deadlines. We are dealing regularly with major broadcasters and, as our reputation spreads, we are winning even more business. Our confidence in Superfast has enabled this growth to be possible.”
Nigel Ashcroft, Superfast Cornwall programme director for Cornwall Development Company, the economic development company of Cornwall Council, said: “Superfast Cornwall has achieved major successes since it was established in 2010, but we will certainly not be resting on our laurels because there is still much to be done.
“Right from the outset we recognized it wasn’t just about rolling out the technology and that it was essential to do everything possible to help local households and businesses make the most of the technology. By end of the year, we will have reached some of England’s most remote locations, including the Isles of Scilly. Through 2014, Superfast Cornwall will continue to set the pace for rural areas in Europe.”
For more information about Superfast Cornwall, visit www.superfastcornwall.org
About the Convergence Programme
The Superfast Cornwall programme is part financed by the Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Convergence European Regional Development Fund Programme 2007 to 2013. The Department for Communities and Local Government is the managing authority for the European Regional Development Fund Programme, which is one of the funds established by the European Commission to help local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support local businesses and create jobs. For more information visit www.gov.uk/browse/business/funding-debt/european-regional-development-funding
ERDF Convergence investment: Up to £53.5 million
BT Investment: Up to £78.5 million
TOTAL: Up to £132 million
For more information visit www.erdfconvergence.org.uk
About Cornwall Development Company
Cornwall Development Company Ltd is the arms length economic development company for Cornwall Council. Further information is available atwww.cornwalldevelopmentcompany.co.uk