Superfast Cornwall Increases Fibre Target To 95 Percent Of County

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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Cornwall will become one of the most connected places in Europe

BT has announced that 95 percent of all homes and businesses will have access to fibre broadband as part of an extension to the Superfast Cornwall programme.

The programme was launched in 2010 by BT, the European Union and Cornwall Council with the aim of making fibre available to 80 percent by the end of 2014. BT has committed £78.5 million to the initiative, with a further £132 million coming from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

This target has now been increased due to greater efficiency since the project began, including innovations pioneered within the county such as lightweight overhead cables.

Superfast Cornwall broadband targets

fibrelead“We have been able to test run some new innovations in the county and as a result we have delivered efficiencies which are now enabling us to go further than we first thought possible,” explained BT Openreach chief executive Liv Garfield. “This is a public private partnership that is delivering with the upside of the efficiencies being reinvested in the county.”

More than half of the county already has access to fibre, with 20,000 customers using superfast services from 30 providers.

BT has called the partnership “one of the most successful public private initiatives of its kind in Europe,” and has said that the new target will make Cornwall one of the most connected places on the continent, despite its remote location.

Public-private initiative

“Superfast Cornwall was designed to bring maximum benefit to the people of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, providing a lasting legacy which would boost the local economy for many years to come,” said Nigel Ashcroft, Superfast Cornwall programme director for Cornwall Development Company. “The success of the programme shows what can be achieved when the public and private sectors work effectively together. We are not just achieving our ambitions, but finding ways to go even further.”

Last week, BT announced plans to recycle fibre optic cables in the Atlantic Ocean to improve broadband on the Isles of Scilly as part of the Superfast Cornwall project. The undersea cables have previously been used for communications between the UK, Ireland and Spain but have been unused for around three years. A cable ship will spend a month later this year cutting and moving two cables and redirecting them to the Isles.

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