The Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority (CPCA) has published a new Delivering Digital Connectivity Strategy with the plan for a £5.6 million investment into improving mobile, broadband and public Wi-Fi coverage while securing future proof full fibre and 5G networks in the region.
It said the funding will be used to extend the Connecting Cambridgeshire programme, led by Cambridgeshire County Council, which has already rolled out superfast broadband access to over 96% of the county and is on track to achieve 99% by 2020.
In addition, it will involve the launch of a dedicated Enabling Digital Delivery (EDD) team that will work with telecoms providers and mobile operators to deal with obstacles to the rapid delivery of digital connectivity, make best use of public sector assets and attract private sector investment.
As part of the strategy, over the next four years Connecting Cambridgeshire will aim to provide a significant increase in the full fibre footprint across the area, improvements in voice and data mobile coverage, better public access Wi-Fi in market towns and villages, and trials of 5G networks and services.
The programme has also been allocated £4 million from the Government’s Local Full Fibre Networks (LFFN) fund to provide fibre upgrades to around 30 public buildings, increase full fibre availability along a ‘digital innovation corridor’ from St Ives to Linton and support businesses to access Gigabit fibre networks.
Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough James Palmer said: “Digital connectivity is a vital part of our area’s infrastructure. The combined authority is committed to our region having outstanding digital connectivity that will support the growth of our local economy and improve the day to day lives of our residents.
“A strong mobile and broadband network is key to enable us to remain competitive in the national and international marketplace through the use of smart technology. We also want to see greater access to public Wi-Fi, which is why we are keen to extend free public access more widely, particularly across our market towns.
“Since the formation of the CPCA just over a year ago we have recognised the impact of digital connectivity infrastructure on businesses and communities and as a result we have prioritised funding for an ambitious digital connectivity strategy for the area to ensure that we have the digital connectivity services we need for now and for the future.”
Image by Cmglee, own work, CC BY-SA 3.0