Broadband plan to create 4,000 jobs

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The Independent Tech

Up to 4,000 jobs will be created under a multimillion-pound project to provide faster broadband links to some of the remotest parts of the UK, it was announced today.

Telecoms giant BT said Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly were set to become one of the best-connected locations in the world under the "ambitious" £132 million plan, which will benefit tens of thousands of local businesses.

The area will benefit from faster broadband thanks to the creation of a high-speed network which will be open to all communications providers, giving up to 90% of local businesses and homes access to super-fast fibre broadband by 2014.

Local businesses and homes will have access to some of the fastest broadband speeds on offer anywhere in the world, "transforming" the competitiveness of local firms.

BT is providing £78.5 million and there will be European Regional Development Fund investment of up to £53.5 million.

Alec Robertson, leader of Cornwall Council, said: "The introduction of next generation super-fast broadband has the potential to 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."

Ian Livingston, chief executive of BT, said: "This is a very significant project that once again positions Cornwall as a broadband leader. It will make the county one of the best- connected areas in the world and provide a major boost to its prosperity.

"The final third of the UK is undoubtedly challenging to reach with fibre but this project shows it is possible. Our door remains open to others who are keen to work with us to bring fibre broadband to their areas."

Communications Minister Ed Vaizey said: "This project is very exciting news for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

"It shows how the public and private sectors can work together to deliver local solutions to local problems.

"Households and businesses in this largely rural area can now look forward to having one of the best broadband connections in the world, thanks to Cornwall Council's vision, European funding and BT's investment and expertise.

"The Government wants the UK to have the best broadband network in Europe by 2015, so today's announcement is a big step towards that goal."