High-speed technology is helping Cornish companies enter "the super league"
Cornish firm hails superfast broadband roll-out: "Now we have broadband speeds that outperform most of our London clients."
Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly are leading Europe with their pioneering roll-out of superfast broadband, a top telecommunications executive said today.
Bill Murphy, BT's managing director for next generation broadband, said during a fact-finding visit to Cornwall that the high-speed technology was already starting to provide a major economic boost for local businesses and households.
He said: "Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly have shown tremendous foresight and vision by developing the Superfast Cornwall partnership well ahead of almost all other areas in the UK and across Europe.
"Representatives of communities all over the UK have 'hot footed' it here to find out more about Cornwall Council's innovative partnership - and with good reason. Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly are blazing a trail, which many other areas want to follow. They are leading Europe with this pioneering initiative.
"Superfast broadband can play a key role in boosting the prosperity and wellbeing of local communities by helping businesses be more competitive, encouraging flexible working and improving educational opportunities."
His two-day visit to Cornwall included a meeting with UK NetWeb, a software development company based at St Agnes, which is one of the first businesses to use the cutting edge "fibre to the premises" (FTTP) superfast broadband technology, currently capable of delivering speeds up to 100Mbps. Parts of St Austell and St Agnes are among the first locations in the UK where FTTP is starting to become available. BT expects to boost FTTP speeds from the current up to 100Mbps to up to 300Mbps from the Spring.
Toby Parkins, UK NetWeb's managing director, said: "Superfast broadband has taken us into the super league. We now have broadband speeds that outperform most of our clients in London.
"One of the most striking things you notice is that you have can have nine or ten of us in the office, all busy online and all with quite incredible broadband speeds. Having superfast broadband has had a powerful impact on perceptions about our company and means we are seen as serious first division players.
"Of course, it saves us loads of time on particular tasks, especially where we are transferring very large amounts of data, as we are for many of the highly sophisticated ecommerce sites we develop. Synchronising websites, a task that might have taken an hour, will now take five minutes so the impact on our productivity is phenomenal.
"More effective collaboration is one of the big wins from superfast. For example, we carry out regular review meetings with all our clients and now we can make these meetings more effective through using a shared desktop for remote meetings combined with video conferencing on Skype. The quality is brilliant now we have superfast broadband. This makes the meetings so much more productive."
The Superfast Cornwall partnership - comprising the European Union, BT, Cornwall Council and Cornwall Development Company - expects to make fibre optic broadband available to at least 80 per cent of premises in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly by the end of 2014. Alternative technologies, such as wireless and satellite, will be used to boost broadband speeds in locations where optical fibre is not currently viable.
Up to £53.5 million of the funding is coming from European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) Convergence Programme, the largest ever single European investment in broadband infrastructure, whilst BT is investing up to £78.5 million.
Superfast broadband is now becoming available in more than a quarter of all Cornwalls telephone exchange areas.* About 46,000 Cornish premises, including more than 4,000 businesses, already have access and by the end of March this figure is expected to reach 90,000, which represents more than a third of premises in the county.
The new network is available on an open wholesale basis to all companies offering broadband services. Customers can check their phone line at www.superfastcornwall.org to see if they can get the service straightaway and, if so, there are a number of internet service providers from which to choose. Prices start from as little as £18 per month. Introductory offers can be even cheaper.
For further information
Enquiries about this news release should be made to the BT Regional Press Office on 0800 085 0660 or Cornwall Development Company on 01209 311104. All news releases can be accessed at: http://www.btplc.com/News.
For further information on the Superfast Cornwall programme visit www.superfastcornwall.org
Notes to Editors
*Superfast broadband is already available in 28 of the 99 Cornish exchange areas - Truro, St Austell, Liskeard, Launceston, Bude, Falmouth, Marazion, North Hill, Marhamchurch, Dobwalls, Chiverton Cross/Chacewater, St Agnes, St Day, Portreath, Devoran, Leedstown, Stenalees, Lanivet, Penryn, Porthtowan, Drakewalls, Par, Redruth, Camborne, Callington, Penzance, Roche, Kilkhampton.
Superfast fibre optic broadband can be delivered as "fibre to the cabinet" (FTTC) or "fibre to the premises" (FTTP). FTTC is where the fibre connection is from the exchange to the street side cabinet with the remainder of the connection being over copper. FTTC provides download speeds of up to 40Mbps and upload speeds of up to 10Mbps. Technical improvements should see these headline speeds roughly double during 2012. FTTP is where the fibre connection runs all the way from the exchange to the customers premises. This technology typically provides download speeds of up to 100Mbps and upload speeds of up to 15Mbps. And from next Spring FTTP download speeds will be boosted to up to 300Mbps.
Further information about next generation broadband is available from www.bt.com/ngb
About the Convergence Programme
The Superfast Cornwall programme is part financed by the European Union with up to £53.5 million from the European Regional Development Fund Convergence Programme.
For further information see: www.convergencecornwall.com
Convergence helpline telephone: 0800 0280120.
In Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly the Convergence programmes are made up of European Regional Development Fund (£374 million) and European Social Fund (£153 million) Convergence Programmes and will run until 2013.
The ERDF Programme investment is intended to boost the regions economy by providing focussed support for business creating better quality, higher paid jobs. This support includes training and access to higher education, strengthening links between academia and business, improved IT infrastructure, additional high quality workspace and specialist support to boost business productivity.
About Cornwall Development Company
Cornwall Development Company Ltd is the economic development company for Cornwall Council and its mission is to achieve sustainable prosperity for all in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.
Further information is available at www.cornwalldevelopmentcompany.co.uk
Openreach is responsible for the last mile of the UK access network - the copper wires and fibre connecting homes and businesses to their local telephone exchanges. Openreach provides communications providers with services and products associated with that network.
BT is one of the worlds leading providers of communications services and solutions, serving customers in more than 170 countries. Its principal activities include the provision of networked IT services globally; local, national and international telecommunications services to our customers for use at home, at work and on the move; broadband and internet products and services and converged fixed/mobile products and services. BT consists principally of four lines of business: BT Global Services, BT Retail, BT Wholesale and Openreach.
In the year ended 31 March 2011, BT Groups revenue was £20,076m with profit before taxation of £1,717m.
British Telecommunications plc (BT) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of BT Group plc and encompasses virtually all businesses and assets of the BT Group. BT Group plc is listed on stock exchanges in London and New York.
For more information, visit www.btplc.com