From today, more companies in Peterborough can access superfast broadband and business support to help them lift off into a digital future.
Connecting Cambridgeshire, of which Peterborough City Council is a key partner, is today unveiling the first Peterborough cabinets to go live with high speed fibre broadband under the roll-out programme.
They are in the Newark and Hampton areas of Peterborough with more than 60 new cabinets to come across the district, offering the high speed technology to thousands more homes and businesses that would not otherwise have access under existing commercial plans.
At the same time, the programme’s new Destination Digital business support project is officially launching in Peterborough to help small to medium-sized businesses make the most of digital technology.
Connecting Cambridgeshire has secured an extra £4.5 million of Central Government and European funding to set up the Destination Digital project, offering businesses free support and grants of up to £4,000 to contribute towards the cost of broadband connectivity and digital services and products.
Councillor Marco Cereste, leader of Peterborough City Council, said: “Broadband is an essential part of life these days and that’s why we have been working hard with partners to improve speeds in the area.
“I am delighted superfast broadband is available from today and look forward to more of these cabinets being installed.
“I am also pleased that businesses can access the support of the Destination Digital project, which will help to boost the local economy.
“Just over a third of small businesses don’t have a website which in this day and age seems like an incredible figure.
“If we can help businesses switch on to the digital age then we can help them grow and create jobs. That brings real benefits to Peterborough and its people.”
Connecting Cambridgeshire is on track to extend fibre based broadband to 98 per cent of premises by the end of December 2015, which will make Cambridgeshire one of the best connected areas in the country.
The programme builds on BT’s commercial fibre roll-out in Peterborough, which has already made the technology available to more than 63,000 homes and businesses.
Bill Murphy, Managing Director of Next Generation Access for BT, said: “It is a fantastic achievement that people in Peterborough are already seeing the benefits of this programme. This investment in fibre broadband will boost the local economy and help to create or protect local jobs across the city. It will be of enormous benefit to local businesses which can use the faster speeds to improve their competitiveness both within the UK and abroad.”
Following the official unveiling of the cabinets today, businesses, business leaders and programme partners will meet in the Town Hall to find out more about Destination Digital, with advisers on hand to explain how businesses can benefit.
Follow today's launch on Twitter: #DestinationDigital
Note to Editors
Connecting Cambridgeshire is working with BT to roll-out the new broadband infrastructure in the most cost effective way to ensure maximum coverage. Without the intervention programme, over 90,000 premises would not be able to get fibre broadband.
Combined with existing commercial broadband provision, completion of the roll-out under the Connecting Cambridgeshire programme will mean that 98 per cent of homes and businesses across the county can expect to have access to fibre-based broadband by the end of 2015.
The programme aims to provide superfast speeds of at least 24Mbps to more than 90 per cent of those premises and a minimum of 2Mbps to virtually all premises by the end of the project
Cambridgeshire County Council has committed up to £20million to the programme together with up to £3million from Peterborough City Council and an allocation of £6.75 million government funding from BDUK (Broadband Delivery UK). BT will contribute £16million.
BT has already made high-speed fibre broadband available to nearly 200,000 Cambridgeshire homes and businesses as part of its commercial deployment including more than 63,000 in Peterborough.
Under the connecting Cambridgeshire contract, by the end of 2015, BT’s local network business Openreach will extend the fibre network by upgrading over 100 exchanges, installing around 500 new green cabinets and hundreds of miles of fibre cable.
The network is designed to be open to all broadband service providers on an equivalent basis which means households and businesses will benefit from a highly competitive market, bringing greater choice and affordable prices.
The complex broadband roll-out will be covered in phases, which may overlap, to be completed by the end of 2015. Premises in some areas may be covered by more than one phase connecting them at different times and involving different technologies.
The Connecting Cambridgeshire programme is led by Cambridgeshire County Council in partnership with Peterborough City Council, and the Government body BDUK, with the support of District Councils and partners in business, health and education.
Destination Digital is being funded with £3.43 million from the Government’s Urban Broadband Fund for Super Connected Cities and a further £1.73million from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). For further information, visit www.connectingcambridgeshire.co.uk
Superfast Britain is a Government programme of investment in broadband and communication infrastructure across the UK. Run by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, this investment helps businesses to grow, creates jobs and will make Britain more competitive in the global race.
Administered on behalf of Government by Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK), Superfast Britain is transforming Britain by promoting growth, enabling skills and learning, and improving quality of life.
For further information: https://www.gov.uk/broadband-delivery-uk