Cambridgeshire County Council is setting out a 21st Century ‘digital connectivity blueprint’ to meet the growing demands for fast internet access to support every aspect of modern living.
The blueprint underpins Cambridgeshire’s position as a leading digital county – supporting business growth, ensuring that communities are connected, and making public services more accessible and affordable.
The ambitious plan outlines challenging targets for the Connecting Cambridgeshire partnership programme to extend broadband, mobile and public access Wi-fi coverage across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough over the next three years.
The programme is striving to bring superfast broadband to within reach of 99% of homes and businesses, whilst raising 4G mobile coverage, getting ready for 5G and increasing public Wi-fi access in communities across the county by the end of 2020.
This can be achieved without extra cost to the Council, through the re-investment of a projected £10million additional gainshare profits generated by the take-up of fibre broadband, which is among the highest in the country, together with Government and EU funding.
Developing a world-class digital connectivity infrastructure will bring benefits for the whole of Cambridgeshire in key areas including the economy, education and skills, high quality of life and health and well-being.
Councillor Ian Bates, Chairman of the County Council’s Economy and Environment Committee, which oversees the Connecting Cambridgeshire programme, said: “An up-to-date digital connectivity infrastructure is essential for Cambridgeshire to maintain our position as a leading digital county and for future economic success. Digital technology underpins almost every aspect of modern living across work, travel, leisure and health, and Internet access is now widely viewed as the ‘4th utility’.
“Our Connecting Cambridgeshire programme has made great progress and is on track to bring superfast broadband access to 95% of premises in the county by the end of this year. But there is more to do to reach remaining households and businesses, using the latest broadband, mobile and Wi-fi technologies to ensure our connectivity is world-class.”
The County Council’s Economy and Environment Committee will be asked to endorse the digital blueprint and support 5G test bed plans at its meeting on 9 March, subject to the approval of budget by the General Purposes Committee later this month.