BT announced today that Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly are set to become one of the best connected locations in the world under an ambitious £132 million BT and Cornwall Council project, supported by European funding. It will bring superfast broadband to the vast majority of businesses in this area by 2014. The project will benefit tens of thousands of local businesses, create 4,000 new local jobs and protect a further 2,000.
It is expected that other ISPs will be able to offer services using the infrastructure in the same way that they buy off BT Wholesale today. Operational details of this have yet to be announced. Rollout will be announced on a rolling basis, agreed by the project partners in consultation with internet service providers.
Today’s announcement focuses on business customers – the aim of the EU funding is to drive economic prosperity and the primary goal is to deliver high speed broadband to all local businesses by 2014. However higher speed broadband will be available to homes within the footprint too.
The project will see a range of different broadband technologies deployed. Fibre broadband will be the most prevalent and will give between 80 and 90 per cent of local businesses and homes access to super-fast speeds. The expectation is that approximately half of local businesses and homes will also be able to enjoy fibre to the premise technology.
Businesses and homes outside the fibre footprint will also receive faster speeds than today through a mix of alternative technologies such as advanced copper, wireless and satellite broadband. These technologies are more suitable to deploy than fibre broadband in the remotest and hardest to reach locations.
The roll-out in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly will begin immediately and run until 2014 with the first customers being connected early next year. It will be interesting to see how this affects property pricing and inward investment in Cornwall.