A new £132 million investment to deliver fibre-broadband to Cornwall has been announced today which will see between 80% and 90% of homes and businesses connected by 2014 to super-fast broadband. The remaining 10-20% of properties are to get access to faster broadband by other means such as Satellite or Wireless.
This 'final-third' project (final-third areas are those deemed unviable for free-market next-generaton rollout by operators on commercial grounds) includes investment of £78.5 million from BT in delivering the service whilst £53.5 million will come from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), and will be the largest European-funded investment in rural broadband. The ERDF funding equates to roughly £100 per head in the region. The Isles of Scilly are also to be included in the roll-out programme which will be targeted based on demand.
Around half of homes and businesses are expected to receive full fibre-to-the-home / fibre-to-the-premises (FTTH/FTTP) which will deliver download speeds of up to 100 Mbps. This involves laying fibre optic cables from the telephone exchange all the way to the home to deliver the best available broadband. The remaining properties will be connected using fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) technology which deploys fibre to street-side cabinets where VDSL2 equipment is located which connects to the customers phone line. FTTC only offers up to 40Mbps but this is expected to increase in the future to 60Mbps.
"[This will] transform the local economy over the next 20 years. Local businesses will be given an all important head start through early access to world-class communications and this will dramatically increase their competitiveness."
"The high speeds on offer will attract new business investment into Cornwall, creating thousands of new job opportunities."Alec Robertson, Cornwall Council Leader
The hope of such a deployment is that if take-up within this final-third region is good, BT may be enticed to perform similar roll-outs in other areas. The large percentage (50%) to receive full FTTH/FTTP is also encouraging as this provides a future proof solution which can be upgraded to faster speeds such as 1Gbps easily. Of BT's current £2.5 billion investment in fibre broadband across the UK, only around 17% are expected to receive FTTH/FTTP.
More information will be available on the roll-out via the Cornwall Development Company.