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20.06.06
High speed broadband arrives at remote Isles of Scilly community

A complex project to provide broadband communications for the remote island of St Martin's in the Isles of Scilly will be completed this week.

The high-speed service due to 'go live' on Friday June 23rd, has been made possible by the installation of a three-kilometre radio link between St Martin's and the BT telephone exchange on the main island of St Mary's.

St Martin's, which has a population of about 100 people, is the fifth and final inhabited Scilly island to be upgraded with the high speed service. Broadband became available at the four other inhabited islands in July of last year.

The remote island is one of 20 communities in South West England to benefit from a £1.3 million investment from the South West of England Regional Development Agency (RDA), which made the provision of broadband in these places economically possible.

Fabian King, head of Regional ICT at the South West RDA, said: "Now that St Martin's can access high speed broadband, they have joined the connected community in South West England and that is very good news for the economy. The region now has every telephone exchange connected for broadband. Everyone involved must be congratulated for their efforts, which helped make this possible."

Lizzie Beesley, regional director for BT in the South West of England, said: "Providing broadband for St Martin's is another step forward in our continuing drive to make broadband available for everybody who wants it. More than 99 per cent of homes and businesses in South West England can now access broadband and we are continuing to work with our partners to find solutions for the relatively few people not yet able to benefit. St Martin's required a particularly complex technical solution. It was necessary to build a radio link between St Mary's and St Martin's and to install on St Martin's some of the broadband equipment, which would usually be sited in the telephone exchange on St Mary's."

The project was welcomed by actnow, the private and public sector partnership with investment from Objective One and led by Cornwall Enterprise. Nigel Ashcroft, project director, said: "There has been strong demand for broadband from Isles of Scilly households and businesses and we are already seeing a similar high level of interest from people on St Martin's. Broadband is playing a vital role in the future prosperity of communities. For businesses, it is helping them become more competitive and efficient and to access new markets."

Chris Savill, owner of St Martin's Campsite, on St Martin's, said: "The arrival of broadband is very good news for St. Martin's. The improved communications and internet speed will truly benefit my campsite business and the rest of the community on this remote island."

For further information please contact Jason Mann, of the BT Press Office, on 0800 085 0660 or Pip Hatt, of the South West RDA Press Office, on 01392 229567.

The Objective One Programme for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly has invested in actnow through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund (EAGGF).

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Editor's notes:

Rural Broadband Access Project
A £1.3 million investment by the South West of England Regional Development Agency has made it economically viable to provide broadband at 20 South West communities. It has included the upgrading of 19 exchanges at Brendon, Farway, Manaton, Chillaton, Clayhanger, Filleigh, Widecombe in the Moor, Drewsteignton, Postbridge, Lydford and Rackenford in Devon; North Tamerton in Cornwall; Lydeard St Lawrence, Crowcombe and Brompton Regis in Somerset; Wylye and Oxenwood in Wiltshire; and Leighterton and Rodmarton in Gloucestershire. In addition, a radio solution will be provided for St Martin's on the Isles of Scilly on June 23.

South West of England Regional Development Agency
The South West of England Regional Development Agency was established in 1999. Our most important role is to ensure the long term economic success of the region, by promoting the right skills among its workforce, the most innovative businesses, and a high quality environment. www.southwestrda.org.uk.

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Clare Morgan
Media Relations Manager
Objective One Partnership Office
Castle House
Pydar Street
Truro TR1 2UD
Mobile: 07973 813647
Telephone: 01872 223439

cmorgan@cornwall.gov.uk

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