UK broadband chief applauds Cornwall
The head of the UK Broadband Task Force was in Cornwall this
week to see for himself how Objective One has helped Cornwall
become one of the fastest growing rural areas of the UK for
Peter Craine, who was appointed head of the UK DTI Broadband
Task Force last September, met with local business and public
sector leaders to learn about actnow, Cornwall's £12.5
million pioneering broadband project which is supported by
£5.25 million of Objective One funding.
actnow has already signed up nearly 3,000 Cornish businesses
and households for broadband access since its launch just
nine months ago, outstripping most other rural areas of the
With orders now running at about 90 per week, BT last week
confirmed that four more Cornish telephone exchanges
at St Ives, Bude, Saltash and Penryn would be equipped
with high speed broadband technology from today (Feb 3). Other
Cornish exchanges already enabled include: Truro, St Austell,
Redruth, Camborne, Newquay, Penzance, Falmouth, Bodmin and
Mr Craine, former Director of Government Relations at GEC
and then Marconi, said actnow was a model for extending broadband
access to rural areas because it stimulated demand and encouraged
the upgrading of local networks.
He said: "Telecoms providers have historically been
reluctant to invest in rural areas because of a lack of demand.
But actnow, through a public and private partnership, has
shown that it is possible to break that vicious circle by
stimulating demand and helping local businesses get the most
from their broadband connection. The vision and dynamic partnership
shown in Cornwall is an example for the rest of the country."
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.
Carleen Kelemen, Objective One Programme Director, who hosted
Mr Craine at a broadband business breakfast at the Eden Project
today, said: "Objective One has played a key role in
developing and delivering actnow, and in just nine months
the project has helped Cornwall outperform most other rural
areas of the UK for broadband sign-up by around 60%, giving
our local businesses the competitive edge they need to compete
on the world stage.
"This is what Objective One is all about creating
the infrastructure Cornwall needs to succeed now and far into
the future. In proving the demand case it will encourage private
sector suppliers to invest in future infrastructures for Cornwall,
such as satellite and wireless. We're delighted that
Peter has come to Cornwall to see for himself how successful
this groundbreaking project has been in helping deliver broadband
services to rural areas."
As head of the UK DTI Broadband Task Force, Mr Craine is
tasked with helping to deliver the Government's target
to make the UK the most competitive and extensive broadband
market in the G7 countries by 2005.
Part of his role is to encourage the aggregation of the growing
need for broadband in the public sector, such as NHS hospitals,
GP clinics, libraries, primary and secondary schools and police
forces, to help expand the take-up of broadband across the
UK and secure better value for customers.
Further information can be obtained by calling actnow on 01209
722850 or visiting www.actnowcornwall.co.uk.
The actnow programme, launched on April 24 last year, 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, Business Link Devon and Cornwall,
the South West Regional Development Agency, Cornwall County
Council and Cornwall College.
ADSL (Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line) transforms the pair
of copper wires between a local telephone exchange and the
customer's telephone socket into a high speed digital line.
Objective One Partnership Office
Truro TR1 2UD
Tel: 01872 241379
Fax: 01872 241388
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