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20.10.06
100,000 broadband connections in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly

This week sees Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly hit the milestone of 100,000 broadband connections, as the broadband boom continues.

actnow is the pioneering Objective One project set up by Cornwall Enterprise in partnership with BT to drive the growth of broadband. Its Project Director, Nigel Ashcroft, says: "We are thrilled that broadband is now being used throughout the county, by people of all ages and from all backgrounds. Although actnow was originally set up to promote broadband use amongst businesses, our vision is to see the benefits of broadband being enjoyed by every man, woman and child in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly."

Annie Heyden of Mullion is an avid broadband user and uses it to stay in close contact with her children and grandchildren, who all live hundreds of miles away.

Annie says: "Because of broadband, I can have frequent communication with all my family. The grandchildren send me photos of what they have been up to and the latest photos of their pets. My grandson even persuaded me to join MSN Messenger. It's great – I can have live email chats with them over the internet. One of my sons is planning to spend some time in Australia soon, but because of broadband, if he goes it will not seem so far away."

Annie continues: "I do my banking online now. It's wonderful and saves me having to travel into Helston all the time as we have no banks in Mullion anymore. I also use it for shopping sometimes and this makes life a lot easier, especially when you live in Cornwall and would have to travel a long way to be able to find what you were after in the shops."

Annie is brushing up her computer skills at the Computer Club recently set up at the Community Centre in Helston by retired local businessman John Mitchell. John says: "We want to make sure everyone in the community can benefit from broadband."

With 100,000 broadband connections, Cornwall is showing ADSL broadband growth levels ahead of the national average.

39.3% of all households and businesses in Cornwall are now connected to ADSL broadband, compared to a national average of 31.4% and a South West average of 34.4%.

Nearly 9,000 businesses in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly are connected to broadband and receiving support though actnow.

Carleen Kelemen, Director of the Objective One Partnership, says: "Objective One has been a great opportunity to enable the public-private partnership to accelerate the growth of broadband in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly and it is fantastic news that we are ahead of the national average. Broadband can be transformational in its impact both for businesses and individuals."

Lizzie Beesley, South West Regional Director for BT, one of the major partners in actnow, says: "The passing of this important milestone demonstrates the extent to which the Cornish community is embracing the huge opportunities offered by broadband. This is a vital step forward for the county. Broadband is boosting the competitiveness of Cornish businesses and helping individuals benefit from new education and leisure opportunities, but much remains to be done. It is not just about whether companies and individuals have broadband, it is about how effectively they are using the technology."

For further information please contact Emma Lydon of actnow on 0800 800 935 or email: Emma.Lydon@actnowcornwall.co.uk.

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:

The actnow programme is a demand-led initiative to encourage businesses in Cornwall to gain the support they need to move into the broadband economy. It is one of the largest private and public sector partnerships in Cornwall since Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly were granted Objective One status by the European Union in 2000.

The £20 million pound project is part financed by the European Union through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund (EAGGF). Other project partners include Cornwall Enterprise, the Objective One Partnership Office, BT, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), the South West of England Regional Development Agency (SWRDA), the Cornwall County Council, Business Link Devon and Cornwall, Cornwall College and Rural Cornwall Partnership.

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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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