Royal Cornwall showground goes superfast

Superfast wi-fi offering set to increase venue bookings at Royal Cornwall Show Pavilion 

The arrival of superfast broadband at the Royal Cornwall Showground is giving one of the county’s leading venues a business boost. 

The rural showground was one of many locations in the Wadebridge area recently connected to fibre optic broadband as part of the Superfast Cornwall programme. 

Now the availability of high-speed wi-fi is expected to further increase the popularity of the venue’s successful Pavilion Centre, which already hosts 180 meetings, conferences, events, weddings and parties each year. Superfast broadband also offers further opportunities for the rest of the showground site, which is the venue for a growing number of events, currently standing at over 80 annually including the Royal Cornwall Show. 

Chris Riddle, secretary to the Royal Cornwall Agricultural Association, which runs the showground, said: “In the past, our broadband service has been slow at the best of times so our new connection is a vital improvement. We have a great venue, centrally located in a lovely rural setting. Now we can offer visitors the reliable, fast wi-fi they desperately require for their events. This will especially come in handy when the venue acts as the Members Pavilion for over 6,000 people during our annual Royal Cornwall Show.” 

The Pavilion Centre offers flexible meeting and event spaces that can accommodate from eight to 300 people. 

Nigel Ashcroft, programme director of Superfast Cornwall for Cornwall Development Company, which manages the Superfast Cornwall initiative, said: “It’s great to see the home of the Royal Cornwall Show, one of the biggest events each year, get connected to fibre broadband. It signifies that Cornwall is well on its way to having some of the best connected businesses and residents in the world.” 

Ranulf Scarbrough, Superfast Cornwall programme director for BT, said: “Bringing superfast broadband to the Royal Cornwall Showground is a significant milestone in the roll-out of fibre optic broadband across Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. It is great news that this exciting technology is providing a boost for a venue, which is such a key part of the Cornish way of life.” 

The Superfast Cornwall partnership between the European Union, BT and Cornwall Council expects to make fibre broadband available to 95 per cent of Cornish homes and businesses by the end of 2014. To date, the programme has made fibre broadband available to 200,000 homes and businesses – more than 75 per cent of the county. More than 31,000 customers are already using the high-speed service, including more than 3,700 businesses. Alternative technologies, such as satellite and advanced copper solutions, will be used to boost broadband speeds in locations where optical fibre is not viable. 

Up to £53.5 million of the funding for Superfast Cornwall is coming from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) Convergence Programme, the largest ever single European investment in broadband infrastructure, whilst BT is investing up to £78.5 million. 


Notes to editors: 
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 

Project Investment: 
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 at www.cornwalldevelopmentcompany.co.uk 
About Openreach 
Openreach is BT’s local network business responsible for the last mile of the UK access network – the copper wires and fibre connecting homes and businesses to their local telephone exchanges. Openreach provides communications providers with services and products associated with that network.