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West Cumbria Gains Broadband Boost
By: MarkJ - 15 December, 2003 (2:31 PM)

Net North West Ltd. is leading a project that aims to bring a hi-speed broadband link to West Cumbria, specifically for companies on Whitehaven's Westlakes Science & Technology Park:

Virtual boost for Cumbrian economy

The economy in West Cumbria is set to receive a further boost following the installation of a broadband link that will give companies on Whitehaven's Westlakes Science & Technology Park high speed connectivity to world markets and worldwide academic resources.

Led by regional broadband provider, Net North West Limited, the project marks the largest non-academic operation undertaken by the company, which is owned by academic organisations throughout the North West and is dedicated to delivering powerful intra-regional connections predominantly to educational organisations.

This installation extends Net North West's reach to what is the eighth largest science park in the country and delivers powerful commercial and academic connectivity to its tenants.

All subscribers receive high speed commercial Internet access as well as non-Internet access to the Net North West hub in Manchester, meaning they effectively join the Intranet that takes in all universities, further education colleges and major centres of knowledge in the North West.

Subscribers can also use Net North West to access the national academic network known as SuperJanet, which in turn delivers connectivity to the global academic community.

The installation includes a managed high speed local area network (LAN) for the site, delivering Ethernet connectivity between offices, and on-site management services to ensure that tenants receive high quality IT support. All connections are easily scalable up to 155 Mbps, delivering 'future proofing' for subscribing companies.

Welcoming the successful installation of the link, business development manager for Net North West, Wilf Gardner, said: "We are absolutely delighted that this project has come to fruition. It is the first time we have completed a turnkey operation on this scale outside academia, and it is great to have been able to do so in West Cumbria. We are now providing Westlakes tenants, old and new, whether they have one PC or hundreds, with 21st century connectivity to the whole world.

The creation of a Net North West Point of Presence in the Whitehaven area also provides an opportunity for other organisations to benefit, which is entirely consistent with our commitment to support not only the economic regeneration of the North West, but also social and cultural activities in and around the Science Park.

Westlakes Properties Limited, the company responsible for the physical development of the Science Park is pleased to have secured the communications services. Dr Doug Millington said "Broadband will transform the way businesses work by providing a fast, always on connection to the market place which will meet the business demands of the 21st Century."

Companies that have already signed up for the service include Westlakes Properties, Shepley Engineering, ICON Controls, JBM Training and the West Cumbria Development Fund.

The incubation centre on Westlakes, dedicated to helping newly qualified graduates develop new companies, is managed by Campus Ventures Limited, who use the Net North West network to connect to three other centres owned by the company.

Funding for this circa 500,000 project has been provided by the North West Development Agency through its Broadband Fund and the European Regional Development Fund. Partners involved in the project include Your Communications, who are supplying all the rapidly scalable internet connections, Blackbox Network Services, who installed the high power 1 Gigabit local area network (LAN) for the site; and ICON Controls Limited who will provide on-site management and user support.

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