A pioneering project to rollout Superfast Broadband coverage across the county has connected with the Cambridgeshire Digital Awards (CDA).
Connecting Cambridgeshire is supporting the first Cambridgeshire Digital Awards as part of its work to encourage businesses and communities across the county to make the most of digital technology.
The project will take the role of “Key Supporter” of the Awards, which it shares with the Greater Cambridge and Greater Peterborough Local Enterprise Partnership.
Led by Cambridgeshire County Council, the Superfast Broadband partnership programme is working with local councils and partners in business, education and health, on a range of projects supported by Government and European funding.
The scheme is improving the county’s broadband, Wi-Fi and mobile infrastructure, while supporting online skills, business growth and technological innovation to meet future digital challenges.
The CDA – the first event of its kind – was launched earlier this year to recognise the online achievements of businesses, schools and charities from across the county.
It boasts 14 free-to-enter categories including “Website”, “Mobile App” and an award for especially for schools and charities.
Cambridgeshire County Councillor Ian Bates, Chairman of the Economy and Environment Committee – which oversees the Connecting Cambridgeshire programme – said: “I am delighted that Connecting Cambridgeshire is supporting these new Cambridgeshire Digital Awards.
“Fast, reliable Internet access is vital for our businesses and communities to thrive in an increasingly digital world and it’s important to recognise the online achievements of our businesses, schools and charities.”
In August, the Greater Cambridge and Greater Peterboorugh Enterprise Partnership also pledged their support to the CDA.
The Awards – which is also backed by Cambridge News – will culminate in a Presentation Evening on November 19 at Burgess Hall in St Ives.
Iain Johnson, from Premio64, the organisation behind the Awards added: “Having the support of Connecting Cambridgeshire is great news for the Awards.
“The work that they are doing in making Superfast Broadband more widely available in Cambridgeshire underpins the development opportunities of the businesses and organisations which are entering the Awards.
“Our organisations fit perfectly together and we’re delighted to promote their work through our scheme.”
Entry for the Awards closed on September 4 and judges from organisations such as Sky Sports and Universal Music will now preside over the submissions.
Connecting Cambridgeshire’s Destination Digital business support project has already helped more than 1,000 small businesses to increase digital skills and connectivity with EU funded grants and workshops.
More than 500 grants of up to £3,000 have been awarded to businesses across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough to help them install superfast broadband under the Government Connection Vouchers scheme.
The Connecting Cambridgeshire superfast broadband programme is bringing faster fibre connections for homes and businesses in areas that would not be able to get it otherwise because it is not commercially viable.
High speed fibre broadband will have reached almost 100,000 premises by the end of this year, allowing home and businesses to upgrade to faster Internet services.
Take up of fibre broadband is above average showing the high demand for faster Internet access so that people can work from home, shop, socialise and find services online.
Planning is underway to extend the roll-out with additional Government funding to improve broadband coverage for harder to reach areas starting in January 2016.
The programme is working closely with BT, local councils, parishes and broadband champions to find the best solutions to connect as many places as possible.
Connecting Cambridgeshire has also launched a new free CambWifi network allowing users to access the Internet on the go in public buildings across the county including libraries, council offices, children’s centres, Park and Ride sites, leisure facilities and community hubs.
The partnership is also working with the University of Cambridge to provide public WiFi via The Cloud in Cambridge’s open spaces and streets.
To find out more visit www.connectingcambridgeshire.co.uk.