Superfast is nearly complete – now it's time to see the benefits
I HAVE always been enthusiastic about the potential for modern fibre-optic infrastructure, like Superfast Broadband, to put Cornwall ahead of the pack and to help overcome some of the geographical challenges we face as a peninsula.
Infrastructure today is not just about roads and rail (important as these are), it is also about digital connection.
The way many modern industries like computer software operate means that, if we get the fastest broadband speeds, we are ahead.
Cornwall has so much beauty many entrepreneurs want to set up business here, provided they have the right infrastructure.
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A couple of months ago I visited Head-Forwards Software, which is one of a number of new computer software companies bringing new jobs to this part of Cornwall.
Evidence suggests almost 90 per cent of the economic benefits of investment in broadband flow to areas outside the South East and the Home Counties.
That makes a change and it is why investment in digital infrastructure is one of the best regional policies you can have.
The project to install Superfast Broadband across Cornwall is moving into its final stages.
By the end of this year they hope to reach their target of 95 per cent of businesses and homes connected.
Much progress has been made with more than 80 per cent of Cornwall now having access to fibre-optic broadband. This equates to 210,000 premises – 21,000 of which are businesses.
By the end of the year, with enough fibre-optic cable to circle the globe three times, 95 per cent of Cornwall will have access to superfast.
What makes the project even more innovative is that alongside the normal superfast broadband being installed there is a further rollout of an even more advanced system that gives people even greater speeds, known as fibre to the premises or FTTP.
Cornwall is now home to half of all the households in the country that have this cutting-edge technology which increases internet speeds by up to 40 times what we now experience. That's worth repeating: half of all the homes in the UK with fibre to the premises can be found in Cornwall.
This is really positive news, and while I know some are concerned that their house or business is not yet covered it is reassuring that the vast majority will finally have access by the end of the year.
For the remaining 5 per cent where it is too difficult, the provider is going to make sure they still see a boost in speeds using alternative methods such as advanced copper wiring or satellite.
It is important this is done properly because I want to see every home, even those in the most remote areas, see a difference from this investment.