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16.09.03
actnow scoops top awards in national broadband competition

At the Broadband Britain Challenge Awards Dinner in London on Friday 12 September, Trish Jones, Director of Regional Broadband Partnerships for BT, gave the following speech:
 
Our champion this evening is an organisation that was created to provide a comprehensive set of services to businesses operating in Cornwall. The aim was to get them to adopt broadband and exploit the benefits of information computer technology and to do so in greater numbers than is the average elsewhere in the country. That meant preaching the broadband gospel far and wide and with SMEs acting as ambassadors for other SMEs to encourage the wider use of things like teleworking, supply chain management, sharing information and the use of the web to both defend existing markets and open up new ones.

Our champion started out with a powerful vision of collaboration between the public and private sectors. Just 16 months into a three year programme, they have blown every output target set to make this a sustainable project. They're currently 60% above their target for the adoption of broadband and have created 20 jobs within the project itself and 586 new jobs have been created in Small and Medium Sized Enterprises. They have also exceeded all their gross revenue and GDP contribution outputs and this group won the best practice award from the European Community. The way in which the partnership has pulled together has proved durable and successful and is an outstanding example of what a partnership is all about …. and it goes to actnow.  

actnow, the Objective One project which is spearheading the development of broadband internet in Cornwall, has won a National Champion award in the Broadband Britain Challenge. The National Final took place in London on Friday 12th September at a spectacular gala dinner compered by TV Presenter Paul Ross.

Nigel Ashcroft, Project Director, who received the prestigious trophy at the ceremony, said: "We are absolutely delighted to receive this accolade. Growth of broadband in Cornwall has been ahead of any other rural area in the UK and the service we are providing to businesses is highly innovative. It is fantastic to see actnow recognised on a national stage."

The Broadband Britain Challenge, which was supported by UK Online for Business, BT Wholesale, ecademy, UK.mp3.com and startups.co.uk, set out to find Britain's best examples of pioneering activities that can be achieved with this new technology. The UK Champions were chosen by a panel of experts including the Institute of Management and University of Cambridge. actnow won its award in the Regional Partnership category, being recognised for its innovation.

In addition to the actnow project itself, one of actnow's customers also received an award.

Rowett Insurance Group of St Austell received a Highly Commended award in the Business category and was congratulated on its pioneering activities. Rowett fought off stiff competition and was recognised for the scope of the improvements it has introduced to its business as a result of broadband. Glyn Rowett, Principal of Rowett's, said: "Broadband has transformed our business and helped us streamline our operations in Cornwall and Devon. We have been able to save time and money and improve our customer service, making us much more efficient and competitive. It is the icing on the cake to receive this national award which recognises the strides forward we have made."

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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 Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly was granted Objective One status by the European Union in 2000. Partners include BT, The Objective One Partnership Office, Cornwall Enterprise, The South West of England Regional Development Agency, Cornwall County Council, Business Link Devon and Cornwall and Cornwall College.

For further information, call Emma Lydon 01209 722850

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Jason Clark
Communications Adviser
Objective One Partnership Office
Castle House
Pydar Street
Truro TR1 2UD
Tel: 01872 241379
Fax: 01872 241388
objectiveone@cornwall.gov.uk

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