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30.01.03      
Broadband demand in Cornwall outstripping most rural areas in the UK

Cornwall's multi million pound actnow project received a major boost today with the news that broadband growth in Cornwall is outstripping most other rural areas in the UK.

Research by BT, one of the partners in actnow, shows demand in Cornwall for high speed broadband accelerating much more quickly than the majority of similar locations elsewhere.

In just nine months, Cornish exchanges achieved market penetration levels only achieved in 15 months by the average rural exchange examined in the study.

The analysis - conducted by BTexact Technologies, BT's world leading research and development laboratories at Adastral Park, near Ipswich - studied two hundred and ninety one rural exchanges across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, of a similar size and type to the nine Cornish exchanges equipped with ADSL broadband.

Nearly 3,000 Cornish businesses and households have ordered broadband since the actnow private and public sector partnership was launched nine months ago. Broadband orders in Cornwall are currently being received at the rate of 90 a week.

Michael Dunn, West of England regional manager for BT, said: "These results are particularly impressive when you bear in mind that, without the involvement of the actnow partnership, it would not have been commercially viable at this time to equip most of these Cornish exchanges with broadband.

"The huge amount of work undertaken by the actnow partnership has played a vital role in generating awareness within Cornwall of the huge opportunities offered by broadband.

"It is a tribute to the actnow partnership and the people and businesses of Cornwall that their broadband story is developing so successfully with demand continuing to grow."

Nigel Ashcroft, project director for the actnow private and public sector partnership, said: "Once again, Cornwall is showing itself to be at the very forefront of broadband developments in the UK – and this is wonderful news because the development of broadband is so important to the future success of the Cornwall. It is already playing a major part in helping Cornish firms find new markets and become more competitive in an increasingly competitive marketplace."

The research findings come at a time of a further expansion of the actnow project. The partnership confirmed earlier this month that broadband would be available at four further exchanges at Bude, Penryn, Saltash and St Ives by Monday February 3.

Of the nine Cornish exchanges already enabled, Truro was equipped with ADSL in June 2001, St Austell, Redruth, Camborne, Newquay and Penzance in April 2002 and Falmouth, Bodmin and Launceston in September 2002.

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.

Further information can be obtained by calling actnow on 01209 722850 or visiting the website www.actnowcornwall.co.uk.

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Editor's notes:

The actnow programme, launched on April 24 2002, 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 Office, Cornwall Enterprise, Business Link Devon and Cornwall, the South West of England 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.

The broadband research conducted by BTexact Technologies, of Adastral Park, near Ipswich, examined 291 rural exchanges across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland of a similar size and type to those in Cornwall involved with the actnow project. It found that, following the launch of actnow in April 2002, the Cornish exchanges achieved a market penetration increase of 2.65 per cent in just nine months. On average, the 291 UK exchanges examined took 15 months to achieve the same penetration level. For the purposes of this survey, market penetration is deemed to be the number of broadband orders expressed as a percentage of the total number of households and businesses in an exchange area.

For further information contact Neil Simpkin of actnow on 01209 722850 or Jason Mann of BT on 0845 726 2624.

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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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