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Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Authority plans smart tech trials


Mark Say Managing Editor

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Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority (CPCA) has laid out plans to trial smart technology and improve digital connectivity in its region.

It has developed proposals for two new workstreams under the Connecting Cambridgeshire programme, which will be considered by housing and communities committee next week.

One, Advanced Communications and Emerging Technologies, involves testing smart technology and data solutions in several market towns over the next 18 months.

The project includes providing SmartPanels - using real time transport information to provide local travel updates - and low cost internet of things networks.

The other, named Keeping Everyone Connected, is aimed at improving broadband, mobile and public access Wi-Fi coverage across the region by 2022.

It includes a bid for a business grants scheme to help small and medium sized enterprises make more use of digital technology to strengthen the resilience of the local economy. Match funding of £430,000 from the CPCA will be used to support an application to the EU European Structural Investment Fund for the business grant scheme to be launched later this year, if approved.

Greater inclusion

This is also intended to support greater digital inclusion across communities, in particular focusing on ensuring that social housing residents are not excluded from digital provision.

Public access Wi-Fi is already being rolled out to market towns and village halls to improve connectivity, and the fourth phase of the superfast broadband roll out is underway, targeting hard-to-reach rural premises aiming to achieve 99% superfast coverage by the end of 2020, subject to the impact of Covid-19.

Mayor James Palmer said: “The increasing importance of digital connectivity in almost all aspects of 21st century living - from economic activity and sustainability through to community wellbeing - has been highlighted by the Covid-19 crisis. Our businesses and communities have had to work, communicate and live in very different ways, with digital connectivity underpinning many of these changes.

“We're all working together to help the region move from rescue to recovery. The Connecting Cambridgeshire programme supports our commitment to delivering outstanding digital connectivity to support economic recovery, respond to local needs and improve people’s quality of life.”

Image from iStock, solarseven

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