Pushing the boundaries of superfast broadband

Superfast Cornwall Labs is a collaborative project investigating current thinking, research, technological developments and trends to push the boundaries of what is possible through superfast broadband in Cornwall, adding value to the economy.

The following initiatives are being run alongside the Superfast Cornwall programme, providing valuable insight into the potential impact of superfast broadband in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

Superfast Research

PhD/post doctoral research

Four new PhDs are at Falmouth University are being part-funded by Superfast Cornwall. The PhD projects research is in the following areas:

  • Supercrafted

    The Supercrafted research project aims to develop bespoke IT solutions that will enable creative businesses to realise the opportunities presented by superfast broadband: digital manufacturing, consumer involvement in design, reaching and creating new markets and distribution of products through the internet. This design research will analyse the potential added value of new collaborative approaches for customers and businesses in the crafts sector.

    The project is led by the Autonomatic Research Group at Falmouth University and jointly funded by Superfast Cornwall. Supercrafted is working with the Leach Pottery in St Ives and Creative Skills Cornwall.

    Click here for more info

  • Sustainable digital neighbourhoods

    This PhD research project is examining how increased access to superfast broadband can improve social interaction in deprived neighbourhoods. The study aims to investigate the link between the use of public spaces, such as libraries, and social integration, through community based online social networks, as an approach to overcoming digital divides.

    Baseline research will measure existing levels of social interaction in four neighbourhoods. Following the introduction of superfast broadband centres, the project will measure the effect on social inclusion and sense of place in the communities. This project will work closely with the digital inclusion programme at Superfast Cornwall. The project is funded by Plymouth University and Superfast Cornwall.

  • Readiness for e-health

    Readiness for e-health examines how superfast broadband and community interventions could improve the take up of e-health services and make these services more accessible in the wider community. The research will provide information on methods and ideas that individuals and local communities can adopt to tackle these take-up issues.

    This project is funded by Plymouth University and Superfast Cornwall. Key partners include Clear About Carbon, the European Centre for the Environment and Human Health, London School of Economics, Oxford Internet Institute, Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust, Routeways and the UK Online Centres Network.

  • E-services on demand

    'E-services on demand' is designing and developing a range of digital services that can support the delivery of high quality care in residential homes. The services are delivered through a combination of open architecture smart home technology and superfast broadband.

    The research is being carried out with Anson Care Services and involves the implementation of a trial facility within one of their residential care homes. Ultimately, the research will look to develop an innovative range of digital services to support high quality care to residents, while assisting care providers in delivery of this care.

    Led by the Academy of Innovation & Research (AIR), the project is funded by Falmouth University and Superfast Cornwall.

    Click here for more info

Research collaboration with dot.rural

Dot.rural is the RCUK Digital Economy Hub, focusing on the rural digital economy. The research it carries out focuses on four rural challenges: Healthcare, Accessibility & Mobilities, Conservation of Natural Resources and Enterprise & Culture.

Superfast Cornwall is teaming up with dot.rural to research rural SMEs in creative industries that are benefiting from communications infrastructure upgrades, such as the rollout of superfast broadband.

Click here for more info

SME focus groups

In collaboration with Plymouth University, Superfast Cornwall is running a series of focus groups to understand current business attitudes and expectations regarding superfast broadband. This work will give insights into the difference that faster broadband is making to businesses across the region.

Superfast Applications

University of the Village

Funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, University of the Village is exploring the barriers faced by rural communities in accessing outreach university education.

Falmouth University, University of Glamorgan, University of Surrey and BT developed the project with communities in Cornwall and South Wales. Villagers from St Agnes took part and in collaboration with Falmouth University, made a film, "The Spirit of St Agnes", which can be viewed at youtube.com/superfastcornwall.

Click here for the project

AIR superfast broadband feasibility studies

The Academy of Innovation and Research at Falmouth University (AIR) has sponsored five research feasibility studies with Cornish businesses to stimulate innovation in business models, applications, services and technologies that exploit superfast broadband.

The feasibility studies looked at initiatives including:

  • developing a new online photo sharing application using innovative user interfaces
  • next steps for a service that uses superfast broadband to broadcast real-time animation
  • creating a crowd-funding service to finance films, which makes use of superfast broadband to create a truly innovative and pioneering service
  • a remote virtual reality application for training and safety procedures based on game engine technologies
  • establishing a digital global supply chain and collaboration environment for a local film post-production business.

Click here for the project

Vconect - video communications

Vconect is an EU-funded collaborative research project looking at new ways in which video communication can be used beyond traditional video conferencing.

Vconect's ultimate aim is ensure everyone in Cornwall has the best quality experience for ad hoc video communication between groups; for work and other activities. In particular, Vconect is exploring how video can enhance collaborative performance-based activities such as music, theatre and dance, as well as the directorial capabilities used in TV production. Field trials are currently being carried out in Cornwall.

Vconect draws together BT, Falmouth University, academic and industry partners from countries across the EU; including Austria, Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, Portugal and the UK.

Click here for the project

Superfast Technology

Global technology scouting

Superfast Cornwall is working with BT's external innovation global technology scouting team, based in Silicon Valley, to identify emerging applications for superfast broadband, helping Cornwall's SMEs have access to world class innovation.

World's first multi-operator LTE/4G trial

Superfast Cornwall worked with BT Wholesale and EE (the company behind Orange and T-Mobile) on the groundbreaking trial deployment of 4G LTE (Long Term Evolution) technology.

Around 200 users in and around St Newlyn East trialled this multi-operator and multi-service technology using the 800MHz 'digital dividend' spectrum, which became available following the switchover from analogue to digital television.

The project won the award for Wholesale Service Innovation in the 2012 Global Telecom Business Innovation Awards.

Openreach Access Network Technologies

Superfast Cornwall is working with Openreach to trial and test many new ways of deploying fibre-based broadband into Cornwall's challenging rural geography.

Europe's most extensive deployment of fibre in a rural area has required many new techniques and capabilities to be developed, to help maximise coverage and speed across the network.

Lightweight fibre cables have been pioneered as a means of reaching premises served by overhead routes, without the need to strengthen or renew existing poles, delivering the fastest speeds of 330 Mbps exactly where they are needed.

The UK's first Next Generation Access (NGA) solution for “exchange-only” lines (lines connected directly to the local exchange rather than via a green roadside cabinet) has also been developed, rearranging the existing copper network to maximise broadband speeds.

Where fibre broadband is not viable, pioneering solutions include the use of broadband regenerators to improve the quality and speed of connections.

Take part in Labs Research

If you are interested in participating in collaborative research with Superfast Cornwall, please get in touch at info@superfastcornwall.org.

Download our Superfast Cornwall Labs brochure

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  • ERDF
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  • BT
  • Cornwall Development Company
  • Cornwall Council
  • The Council of the Isles of Scilly
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