The Connecting Cambridgeshire programme was set up in 2011 to ensure access to superfast broadband for at least 90% of homes and businesses and better broadband for all other premises across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.
Consultation about where commercial broadband services would be rolled out showed that, without an intervention programme, a third of premises would still not have access to faster broadband services (24Mbps and up) and a significant number would be without even basic broadband (up to 2 Mbps).
The programme was allocated £6.75m Government funding through Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) to complement up to £20m of investment from Cambridgeshire County Council and up to £3m from Peterborough City Council to intervene in areas that would not otherwise get better broadband.
Cambridgeshire ACRE played a significant role in the Connecting Cambridgeshire demand registration campaign in 2012, ensuring that the most rural of the County’s communities understood the importance of registering their demand for superfast broadband. The campaign was the largest in the country with nearly 25,000 registrations, demonstrating the strength of demand for better broadband across the county.
Connecting Cambridgeshire signed a contract with BT in March 2013 that means businesses and communities across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough will have some of the best fibre broadband coverage in the country by the end of 2015.
Overall 98% of homes and businesses across the county can expect to have access to fibre-based broadband by the end of the contract. The target is for more than 90% of homes and businesses to be able to get broadband speeds of 24 Mbps and higher, with a minimum of 2 Mbps to very nearly 100% of premises.
The Connecting Cambridgeshire programme is now working with BT Openreach on planning and detailed surveys for the roll-out, which will require a substantial re-design of the network. The roll-out has to be carefully planned in phases to make the best use of public money.
Regular updates will be posted on the Connecting Cambridgeshire website www.connectingcambridgeshire.co.uk and Cambridgeshire ACRE will provide links to these via its regular monthly e-News Digest.