Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Superfast Campaign Calls For Surge Of Support In Cambridgeshire



The superfast campaign for better broadband across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough is calling for a surge of support to show record levels of demand in the closing stages of registrations.

Connecting Cambridgeshire is one of the fastest growing broadband campaigns in the country and is expected to reach a milestone of 20,000 registrations in the next few weeks.

Households and businesses are being urged to demonstrate there is countywide demand for better broadband by registering for the campaign at www.connectingcambridgeshire.co.uk before the end of December, when a supplier will be selected.

More than 80 Broadband Champions are helping villages and parishes with the final push for local support, as well as gathering examples of how communities and home-based businesses will benefit from being able to access better broadband.

The complex bidding process is on track to select the supplier able to make the maximum investment in rolling out superfast broadband (min. 25Mbps) to at least 90% of homes and businesses with better broadband (min 2 Mbps) for all other premises in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough by 2015. Planning for the roll-out will begin in January 2013, but it is too early to say which areas will benefit first.

Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council as well as the Government body Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) have together committed up to £30 million for the Connecting Cambridgeshire project to bring better broadband access to as many places as possible.

Cambridgeshire County Councillor Ian Bates, Cabinet Member for Growth and Planning, said: "We need everyone to support this registration campaign so the whole county can benefit from better broadband. Reliable internet access is becoming part of everyday life in our homes, schools, health and public services, and it is vital for our businesses and economy to thrive.

"We are getting close to selecting the supplier to roll-out superfast broadband across Cambridgeshire and we are determined to get the best investment we can to improve connectivity for all."

The Connecting Cambridgeshire project is being supported by local councils and partners in business, health and education.

Councillor Nick Wright, South Cambridgeshire District Council's Cabinet Member for Economic Development, said: "Residents and businesses have already shown impressive support for this campaign, but if you are yet to log on and sign up please make sure you take the time to do so before the end of the year. Slow broadband access is a constant frustration in rural areas of South Cambridgeshire and every registration helps to bring better broadband a step closer for communities."

Councillor Jason Ablewhite, Executive Leader and Portfolio Holder for Economic Development at Huntingdonshire District Council, said: "Broadband infrastructure is so critical in districts such as Huntingdonshire if we are to play our part the high-tech global economy of the future. I urge all our businesses and residents to demonstrate that they want and need access to superfast broadband."

Councillor Tom Kerby, who leads on Economic Development at East Cambridgeshire District Council, said: "There has been huge support for the campaign so far but we all know more people should register if we are to make a difference. In East Cambridgeshire, superfast broadband has the potential to transform the way businesses operate and will ensure local jobs and growth are created to support our economy."

Councillor Chris Seaton, Fenland District Council's Deputy Leader and Portfolio Holder for the Economy, said: "Better broadband provision is absolutely vital for Fenland's future economic development. It is particularly important for our rural communities, many of whom still have comparatively poor access to services and information. The more people who register their support for this campaign, the greater our chances of getting the service we urgently need."

People who cannot register online at www.connectingcambridgeshire.co.uk, can pick up a Freepost reply form in leaflets and flyers widely available in libraries and council offices.
Anyone interested in helping with the campaign in their area, can email contact@connectingcambridgeshire.co.uk for more information.