Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly are set to become one of the best connected locations in the world under an ambitious £132m project announced by BT and Cornwall Council.
The area will benefit from faster broadband thanks to the creation of a high-speed network that will be open to all communications providers on a wholesale basis.
The aim is to give between 80 and 90 per cent of local businesses and homes access to super-fast fibre broadband by 2014. 100Mbit/sec fibre to the premise (FTTP) technology will feature heavily, with the expectation being that half of local businesses and homes will have access to it.
Other businesses will also experience faster speeds through a mix of alternative technologies such as advanced copper, wireless and satellite broadband, which are more cost-effective to deploy than fibre broadband in remote and hard-to-reach locations.
The South West RDA is said to have played a crucial role in securing up to £53.5m of ERDF Convergence investment from the European Commission for the project. For its part, BT is providing a further £78.5m.
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.