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Cornwall UK Confirms Growth Deal for 99% Fibre Broadband Coverage

Thursday, January 29th, 2015 (11:31 am) - Score 863
superfast cornwall

The Government’s Minister for Rural Affairs, Dan Rogerson (LibDem), will later today launch a new Growth Deal for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly in England that will confirm the Local Authorities existing plan to push “fibre broadband” coverage from the current target of 95% to over 99%.

The existing £132m Superfast Cornwall programme, which is funded by £78.5m from BT and up to £53.5m from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), is currently set to complete its roll-out of faster “fibre broadband” (FTTC/P) to 95% of the region by March 2015 (NOTE: It’s estimated that 85% is the figure for those actually able to receive “superfast” speeds of 30Mbps+).

Regular readers might also recall that the local authority met earlier this month to agree an expansion of the project under the Government’s separate Broadband Delivery UK scheme (here), specifically their Superfast Extension Programme (SEP). This envisaged that “fibre broadband” would be pushed out to 99% coverage by March 2019.

Apparently today’s “Growth Deal expansion” agreement, which includes funding for other areas like public transport, rail and cycling schemes, will see £11.3m being invested in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly between 2016 and 2021, which itself builds on the £48.9m of funding that was awarded by the Government as part of the Growth Deal for Cornwall last summer.

Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, said:

A quiet revolution is underway in Cornwall, the Isles of Scilly and across the country, as Growth Deals signal the death of the culture where Whitehall calls the shots. I’ve seen for myself the difference it makes to give this region more power over skills, over business support, over infrastructure spending..

I am delighted to announce the expansion of the Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly Growth Deal today. The Coalition Government has been relentless in our efforts to sort out the public finances and set firm foundations for growth. Growth Deals help create a stronger economy and a fairer society by boosting local economies, and providing more jobs, better transport and affordable homes.”

North Cornwall MP, Dan Rogerson, said:

Today’s investment will be a huge boost to our local economy, benefiting those who aren’t included in the current Superfast Cornwall scheme by bringing fibre-based superfast broadband within reach of 99% of businesses and families across the Duchy.

The Superfast Cornwall project is bringing access to fibre-based superfast broadband to 95% of Cornish properties and businesses – but it’s important that as many premises as possible that still need improvements to their internet speeds, many in remote areas, get help too.”

Sadly the funding for broadband isn’t separated out, although we know from the earlier council meeting that their estimated total cost of the broadband side will be £18.747m and Cornwall Council’s contribution is expected to sit at approximately £3.115m (£2.573m capital and £0.542m revenue). But today’s announcement confuses this a little by saying, “The £1m investment will unlock a further £6m of funding from other sources including BDUK and Cornwall Council.”

The follow-on programme is anticipated to commence around July 2015 and it would take a brave person to bet against BT getting the contract to do nearly all of the leg work involved. Mind you, the figure of 99% might still leave some extremely rural parts of north Cornwall out in the cold, but at present it’s too early to tell for sure. Credits to Thinkbroadband and PirateFM for spotting the update.

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Mark Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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1 Response
  1. Avatar Dave King

    I just want broadband, This is what we were promised by BT 10 years ago. This programme is a waste of money. All that is happening is people with access to broadband are going to get even faster broadband. All the rest that have sub 1mb/s speeds are to get nothing except some vague promise of something in another 4 years time. I don’t want SuperFast Broadband I just want ‘broadband’

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