Cornish villages linked to 100mb broadband

A multimillion-pound project has announced its first hard-to-reach communities to receive super-fast broadband.

Eight Cornish villages will have broadband with speeds of up to 100mb by the end of March.

More than 10,000 businesses and homes in the Chiverton Cross area, Leedstown, St Agnes, Portreath, St Day, Devoran, Stenalees and Par are expected to be able to access the service.

The pilot scheme will see the isolated areas supplied prior to the major broadband roll-out across Cornwall and the Isle of Scilly making them some of the best connected locations in the world.

Costing £132million, the roll-out is expected to create 4,000 new jobs and protect a further 2,000.

The project is being managed by Cornwall Council's economic development arm, Cornwall Development Company.

Director of next generation broadband for Cornwall Development Company Nigel Ashcroft said: "This is an incredibly innovative and pioneering project never before done on this scale.

"A pilot scheme in these eight locations will provide valuable feedback at an early stage as we prepare for the early phases of the roll-out programme primarily in the South East of the county.

"It means that early next year the first Cornish customers will be experiencing the huge benefits offered by super-fast broadband."

The project is being funded by BT and the European Union and is expected to deliver broadband to between 80 and 90% of businesses and households in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly by 2014.

BT South West regional director Jon Reynolds said: "It is excellent news that the first Cornish businesses and homes will have access to super-fast broadband at such an early stage.

"This is a transformational project, which will boost the productivity of local businesses and help to attract a more diverse range of high-growth companies to the area.

"It will play a major role in creating a more prosperous Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly."

Super-fast broadband benefits include users being able to run multiple bandwidth-hungry applications at the same time and sending and receiving large amounts of data much more quickly and efficiently.

The project will be funded with £53.5 million from the European Regional Development Fund Convergence programme - which is the largest ever single European investment in broadband infrastructure - and £78.5 million from BT.