City jobs hope in £3m race for su­per­fast broad­band

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - FRONT PAGE - By KEN MCER­LAIN ken.mcer­lain@pe­ter­bor­oughto­day.co.uk twit­ter@etken­m­cer­lain

A HI-TECH cam­paign that could net thou­sands of jobs for Peter­bor­ough over the next five years is launched to­day.

The multi-mil­lion pound project, called Con­nect­ing Cam­bridgeshire, seeks to bring su­per­fast broad­band to homes and firms in Peter­bor­ough and the rest of Cam­bridgeshire.

Peter­bor­ough City Coun­cil is in­vest­ing £3 mil­lion in the cam­paign but civic lead­ers say that be­fore the city and sur­round­ing vil­lages can re­ceive su­per­fast broad­band, firms and res­i­dents must show there is a de­mand for the ser­vice, which has a min­i­mum speed of 25Mbps.

They are be­ing urged to click on the link on the new www.con­nect­ing­cam­bridgeshire.co.uk web­site, which goes live to­day, to show their sup­port.

Cam­paign chiefs say that su­per­fast broad­band will help boost lo­cal busi­nesses and the econ­omy, re­duce iso­la­tion in ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties and help im­prove health and ac­cess to ser­vices.

Coun­cil leader Coun­cil­lor Marco Cer­este said: “If this com­pletely flopped then our money would be lost.

“But I don’t be­lieve there is any risk. I am con­fi­dent this will be suc­cess­ful.

“This su­per­fast broad­band con­nec­tion will at­tract new com­pa­nies to the area and help make those that are al­ready here more com­pet­i­tive.

“It could eas­ily help cre­ate thou­sands of jobs over the next five years.

“I urge ev­ery­one to sup­port this cam­paign in a bid to help our city se­cure su­per­fast broad­band. In­creas­ing our con­nec­tiv­ity will at­tract new busi­nesses, in­no­va­tion and en­ter­prise.

“Wider cov­er­age with faster con­nec­tion speeds will also boost our en­vi­ron­ment cap­i­tal as­pi­ra­tions and help to re­duce our car­bon foot­print, as busi­nesses will be able to en­cour­age more peo­ple to work from home, or re­motely, re­duc­ing traf­fic con­ges­tion.

The Con­nect­ing Cam­bridgeshire project is be­ing led by Cam­bridgeshire County Coun­cil in part­ner­ship with the city coun­cil, dis­trict coun­cils and part­ners in busi­ness, health and ed­u­ca­tion.

The aim is to bring ac­cess to su­per­fast broad­band to at least 90 per cent of busi­nesses and homes across Peter­bor­ough and Cam­bridgeshire and bet­ter con­nec­tiv­ity for all re­main­ing premises by 2015.

Cam­bridgeshire County Coun­cil has also com­mit­ted up to £20mil­lion with £6.75mil­lion al­lo­cated by the Gov­ern­ment agency BDUK. The money will be used to help meet the cost of installing su­per­fast broad­band to firms and homes.

Cam­bridgeshire County Coun­cil­lor Ian Bates, cab­i­net mem­ber for growth and plan­ning, said: “We are very un­likely to lose the money. I am supremely con­fi­dent this will be suc­cess­ful as there are 20 po­ten­tial sup­pli­ers look­ing to pro­vide the ser­vices.”

He added: “A sim­ple click of the mouse could mean so much. It means el­derly res­i­dents get bet­ter ac­cess to health­care and ser­vices and it means lo­cal busi­nesses can grow and new ones start up, which cre­ates more jobs and a pros­per­ous econ­omy.”

CON­FI­DENT: Cllr Marco Cer­este is cer­tain of sup­port from Peter­bor­ough for a su­per­fast broad­band link.

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