Connecting remote areas to superfast broadband

The Superfast Cornwall project is the largest single European investment in broadband infrastructure so far, and following a pilot scheme in early 2011, has already brought superfast broadband to over 15 000 customers.

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Projects such as this are helping the EU to become a smart, sustainable and inclusive economy by 2020, as set out in the EU 2020 growth strategy. The EU is facing some tough challenges, including an ageing population, an insufficiently qualified workforce, the need for greater innovation, striking a balance between economic growth and environmental degradation, and ensuring secure, clean energy supplies. Regional policy projects across the EU are playing an active role in dealing with these and many other challenges, by undertaking projects designed to generate employment, raise educational achievement, develop renewable energy sources, boost productivity and give all citizens access to opportunities. The projects and the regions play a pivotal role in this, as they generate real results that contribute to achieving the strategy’s key goals.

By 2015, at least 80% of homes and businesses will have fibre optic superfast broadband, providing a vital boost to competitiveness and online access opportunities. For those unable to connect to fibre optic broadband, alternative technologies such as satellite, wireless and advanced copper will make connections possible for everyone.

Vital link for society

Building on the success of previous digital infrastructure investments, the Superfast Cornwall programme provides a platform for transformation to a more knowledge-based, high value-added, lower-carbon economy. The project complements other local investments in place-based regeneration activity, innovation centres and enhanced research, ensuring that the best future-proofed solution for digital connectivity is delivered. The investment is expected to create 4 000 new jobs, protect a further 2 000, and make Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly one of the best connected places in the world.

BT will own and operate the network, but will make it available on an open, wholesale basis to all communications providers, ensuring a competitive market for local businesses and residents. Half of Cornwall’s 50 exchanges should be upgraded to superfast broadband by autumn 2012.

Opening up for business and learning

The project will help ensure that high-growth, high-value businesses, including start-ups, those with potential to develop and inward investors, have access to superfast broadband services, with fibre connectivity of up to 100 Mbps on offer.  A major marketing programme will be launched to stimulate demand, skill programmes and support to help businesses fully exploit the new technology.

Superfast broadband is part of the infrastructure needed to underpin other major ERDF investments in the proposed innovation centres at Pool, Tremough and Treliske, the research institutions established through the Combined Universities in Cornwall and the Wave Hub and PRIMaRE (marine renewables research) initiatives, with researchers benefiting from greater access to online resources.

In touch with remote lifestyles

The project is key to supporting the ambition of Cornwall & the Isles of Scilly to move towards a low-carbon economy, by increasing opportunities to work from home, reducing energy use, improving access to services, reducing the need to travel and enabling people to work effectively and productively, even from the most remote areas.

Draft date

02/09/2011