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02.05.03
Government Minister Visits Expanding Cornwall Broedband Project

A senior government Minister will carry out a fact finding visit to Cornwall's Objective One funded pioneering broadband project actnow later this month, just a few days after a further expansion of the multi million pound initiative.

Rural Affairs Minister Alun Michael will call at actnow's headquarters at Tolvaddon Energy Park, Camborne, on Tuesday May 13 to speak to senior representatives of key organisations involved in the £12.5 million private and public sector partnership.

He said today: "I am taking the opportunity of a visit to the South West to see firsthand the success of the actnow project. The project has achieved a tremendous amount since it was launched a little more than a year ago. Its success will have a lasting impact on Cornwall and, I am sure, provide the broadband blueprint for many other areas."

Whilst at the actnow offices, Mr Michael will also meet the bosses of two Cornish agricultural firms, which are among the 1,700 Cornish businesses benefiting from actnow. Peter Phillips, the owner of agricultural consultants Business Projections Ltd, of Newquay, and Kevin Gray-Roberts, the owner of organic food producer Carley's Organic Foods, of Truro, are convinced that broadband offers huge benefits for the agricultural industry.

" The broadband link has meant that we can provide a better service for our farming clients," said Mr Phillips. "It's much more efficient. We can send and receive the latest information quickly, accurately and securely and, of course, there are none of the dial-up delays we experienced with the previous service. For us, broadband is key to reacting quickly to fast changing conditions."

The experience is very similar at Carley's Organic Foods, which has teamed up with 40 other organic producers certified by the Soil Association to launch Cornwall Organic Partnership (COP). "Broadband allows us to communicate so much more quickly and efficiently with our dedicated team of Cornish suppliers," said Mr Gray-Roberts. "It's very important that Cornish businesses embrace new technology and are seen by potential customers to be at the cutting edge of business practice and not playing catch-up as has happened so often in the past."

The actnow partnership today confirmed it is to extend its extensive range of support and advisory services to small and medium businesses in Helston when ADSL broadband services become available in the town from Wednesday May 7.

Helston will be the first town in Cornwall to receive broadband through BT's broadband registration scheme. The scheme, introduced in July of last year, allows people to register an interest in ordering broadband in areas not yet served by the high speed service.

BT, one of the actnow partners, has set a registration target for each of its exchanges based on the cost of the upgrade. Once the target is achieved - in the case of Helston, it was 400 registrations - broadband will be installed.

Ranulf Scarbrough, actnow project manager, said: "BT's broadband registration scheme is an excellent example of local communities being able to influence major investment decisions. It is therefore very important that people in Cornwall not yet served by broadband who would benefit from the service register their interest with this scheme by contacting their internet service provider. Further details are available from the website www.bt.com/broadband"

The actnow package for small and medium businesses includes pre and post sign-up advice, a range of computer equipment and broadband connection options to suit the needs of individual businesses, financial support and privileged members’ access to the actnow website. The financial support means that participating businesses pay no installation charges for the most popular broadband services and that there is a £10 reduction in the monthly rental charges to just £19.99 a month.

Businesses wanting further information can contact actnow on 01209 722850 or go to the website www.actnowcornwall.co.uk

For further information contact Emma Lydon, of actnow on 01209 722850, or Jason Mann, of BT, on 0845 7262624.

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Editor's notes:

The actnow programme is a demand-led initiative to encourage businesses in Cornwall to gain the support they need to move into the new broadband economy. Including about £5.25 million from Objective One, it is one of the largest private and public sector partnerships in Cornwall since the county was granted Objective One status by the European Union in 2000. Partners include BT, the Objective One Partnership, Cornwall Enterprise, the South West of England Regional Development Agency, Cornwall County Council, Business Link Devon & Cornwall and Cornwall College.

ADSL (Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line) broadband transforms the pair of copper wires between a local telephone exchange and the customer’s telephone socket into a high speed digital line.

The 13 Cornish exchanges already equipped with broadband are: Truro, St Austell, Redruth, Camborne, Newquay, Penzance, Falmouth, Bodmin, Launceston, St Ives, Saltash, Bude and Penryn.

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Jason Clark
Communications Manager
Objective One Partnership Office
Castle House
Pydar Street
Truro TR1 2UD
Tel:01872 241379
Fax:01872 241388
jason@dclark.co.uk

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