BT unveiled its largest rural broadband project ever yesterday with a £132m scheme to bring superfast internet speeds to most of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.
Sally Davis, the chief executive of BT's Wholesale division, called the venture an "absolute landmark" for the company and one that could prove a blueprint for other regions looking to install superfast broadband.
BT has a £2.5bn plan to bring fibre broadband to two-thirds of the country by 2015. The funding for Cornwall – which includes a £53.5m grant from the European Union, and the rest from BT – will see 150,000 kilometres of fibre cable installed in the region. Ms Davis said: "This is the most ambitious rural fibre project in the world."
The region plans to give between 80 and 90 per cent of local businesses and homes access to broadband speeds of up to 100Mb by 2014.
Alec Robertson, leader of Cornwall Council, said: "The introduction of next generation superfast broadband has the potential to transform the local economy over the next 20 years."
The first customers will be connected by the end of March, and Cornwall Council said the overhauled infrastructure would make "high earning in the county a real possibility".
Currently, Wales is the only otherregion looking at a similar project but is understood to be in very early planning stages. "This should be a clarion call to every region in the UK," Ms Davis said. Ed Vaizey, the Communications Minister, said the announcement was "a big step" towards the Government's plan to have the best broadbandnetwork in Europe by 2015.