An initiative to expand coverage of Superfast Broadband across the county has connected with the Cambridgeshire Digital Awards for the second year running.
Connecting Cambridgeshire is supporting the CDAs as part of its mission to encourage businesses across the county to optimise their opportunities with digital technology.
The organisation takes the role of “Key Supporter” of the Awards once again, a position it shares with the Greater Cambridge and Greater Peterborough Local Enterprise Partnership which also returns for a second year at the CDAs.
Led by Cambridgeshire County Council, the Superfast Broadband partnership programme is working with Government and telecoms providers to improve the county’s broadband, Wi-Fi and mobile infrastructure, while supporting online skills, business growth and technological innovation to meet future digital challenges.
Cambridgeshire County Councillor Ian Bates, Chairman of the Economy and Environment Committee – which oversees the Connecting Cambridgeshire partnership programme – said: “We’re supporting the Cambridgeshire Digital Awards because we know that good connectivity is vital to support a strong economy. It means that businesses can grow and create jobs, people living in rural communities don’t miss out, and we can deliver council services in new ways.
“The Connecting Cambridgeshire rollout programme has brought high speed fibre broadband to over 114,000 homes and businesses that would not have been able to get it otherwise through commercial provision, and we’re working to reach another 6,000 by the end of next year (2017) to ensure that no community misses out.”
The Awards is also backed by Cambridge News and will culminate in a Presentation Evening on November 24 at The Belfry in Cambourne.
Robin Bailey, Chair of the CDA Judging Panel said: “We are delighted to have the support of Connecting Cambridgeshire at the Cambridgeshire Digital Awards once again.
“The work that they do to boost connectivity across the county is vital and chimes perfectly with our ethos to promote the digital economy and celebrate the great things that businesses, charities and schools from across Cambridgeshire achieve online.
“We are delighted that Connecting Cambridgeshire will be joining us at the CDA16 Presentation Evening in November, it will be a night to remember.”
Entry for the Awards closes on September 23 and judges from organisations such as Sky Sports and telecommunications giant Eir will now preside over the submissions.
The Connecting Cambridgeshire superfast broadband rollout has reached more than 114,000 homes and businesses across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough and the programme is now working on delivering fibre broadband to smaller communities and groups of premises using additional Government funding and BT investment.
Take up of fibre broadband is averaging over 36 per cent, which is among the highest in the country. Some people assume that they will automatically be upgraded to high speed fibre broadband when their areas goes ‘live’, however they need to upgrade to a fibre package with an Internet Service Provider (ISP) first.
A new Getting Superfast leaflet and page on the www.connectingcambridgeshire.co.uk website explains how people can check if they can upgrade to fibre broadband, and the other options available to them if they cannot. The ‘my area’ pages are also updated regularly to show the latest local information as the roll-out progresses.
The Destination Digital business support programme is now closed as the EU and Government funding streams for digital skills training, equipment and connectivity vouchers have ended. Useful information including a Broadband Guide for businesses is available on the www.connectingcambridgeshire.co.uk website, where any further funding updates will be posted.
Last year’s CDA winners included several small businesses that had been helped through the programme, and their case studies are highlighted on the website.