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Superfast Cornwall celebrates as long established Truro manufacturer becomes its 10,000th customer
Broadband speeds rocket 60 fold for Cornish electronics firm
A long established electronics manufacturer in Truro has become the 10,000th Cornish customer to take-up high-speed fibre optic broadband.
ARCOL UK Ltd, of Threemilestone Industrial Estate, is the latest business to benefit from the pioneering Superfast Cornwall private and public sector broadband partnership. The high speed technology is already playing a key role in ARCOL’s growing global success.
The firm, which was established in 1952 and produces and sells up to 4 million power resistors a year in more than 30 countries worldwide, has seen broadband speeds rocket 60 fold since becoming one of the first businesses at Threemilestone to connect to the latest “fibre to the premises” broadband technology.
Alun Morgan, ARCOL’s technical director, said: “Our experience of superfast broadband so far is really superb. The previous broadband line was giving us a download speed of around 1.5 Mbps, whereas our new fibre connection is regularly providing 92 Mbps of data throughput – a colossal difference, which is giving us the ability to do everything much more quickly.”
The new fibre optic technology is helping ARCOL reduce costs, allow the company to work more efficiently and flexibly and helping it build stronger relationships with its customers. “We need to have the ability to constantly reach out to our customers, whether the medium is IP (internet protocol) telephony, video-conferencing or online chat. Superfast broadband has given us many more avenues to cement these important relationships,” he said.
“All of our sales and purchasing teams have iPads and soon, thanks to our greatly enhanced broadband, they will be able to use them to log-in to our office network via an interactive portal. Not only will this result in immediate processing of transactions, but it will enable issues or queries to be resolved more quickly and efficiently.
“Superfast broadband even gave us the chance to base a salesman in Buckinghamshire in order to service the UK market more effectively. Our new fibre broadband – and his own fibre connection - allows him to access our systems many times more quickly.”
About 80 per cent of ARCOL’s resistors are manufactured on site at Threemilestone and 80 per cent of sales are exported. The resistors have hundreds of different applications from infrastructure projects at the Olympics to NASA’s ‘Themis’ project, which is examining auroras in the Earth’s atmosphere.
Superfast Cornwall - a partnership between BT, the European Union and Cornwall Council - expects to make fibre broadband available to at least 80 per cent of homes and businesses in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly by the end of 2014 with alternative technologies, such as wireless and satellite, being used to boost speeds in those areas where super-fast broadband is not currently viable.
Nigel Ashcroft, programme director of Superfast Cornwall for Cornwall Development Company, which is managing the £132 million1 programme, said: “The 10,000th customer is another major milestone in the rapid development of the Superfast Cornwall programme. More than 100,000 Cornish homes and businesses already have access to fibre optic broadband and take-up of the service continues to grow at a very strong rate.
“The technology will play a vital role in the transformation of the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly economy as we shrug off the recession and build a stronger, more resilient local economy. It will mean a more prosperous future for our local businesses and residents. ARCOL is a superb business example of what can be achieved with the necessary determination, investment and technology. It is very much a global company with its roots firmly established in Cornwall.”
Ranulf Scarbrough, BT’s Superfast Cornwall programme director, said: “Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly continues to blaze a trail, which other parts of the UK and Europe seek to follow. Within about 18 months we will have completed a roll-out programme here, which will see broadband speeds boosted for communities across Cornwall. Progress has been excellent, but there is still much to be done and many challenges lie ahead in creating this world class network.”
Up to £53.5 million of the funding for Superfast Cornwall is coming from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) Convergence programme, the largest ever single European investment in broadband infrastructure, with BT investing up to £78.5 million. The roll-out is expected to create 4,000 new jobs and to protect a further 2,000 existing jobs and will make Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly one of the best connected places in the world.
The much faster upload speeds available with superfast broadband - the fastest in the UK - make two-way video calling and cloud computing services possible and allow items, such as large data files, to be sent almost instantly.
The new network is available on an equal basis to all firms offering super-fast broadband services. Customers can find out more about the programme at www.superfastcornwall.org.
1The exact amount is dependent on demand for fibre broadband from local businesses and could be lower than £132 million.
For further information
Enquiries about this news release should be made to the BT Regional Press Office on 0800 085 0660 or Cornwall Development Company on 01209 311104. All news releases can be accessed at: www.btplc.com/News.
For further information on the Superfast Cornwall programme visit www.superfastcornwall.org
Notes to Editors
Further information about next generation broadband is available from www.bt.com/ngb
About the Convergence Programme
The Superfast Cornwall programme is part financed by the European Union with up to £53.5 million from the European Regional Development Fund Convergence Programme.
For further information see: www.convergencecornwall.com
Convergence helpline telephone: 0800 0280120.
In Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly the Convergence programmes are made up of European Regional Development Fund (£374 million) and European Social Fund (£153 million) Convergence Programmes and will run until 2013.
The ERDF Programme investment is intended to boost the region’s economy by providing focussed support for business creating better quality, higher paid jobs. This support includes training and access to higher education, strengthening links between academia and business, improved IT infrastructure, additional high quality workspace and specialist support to boost business productivity.
About Cornwall Development Company
Cornwall Development Company Ltd is the economic development company for Cornwall Council and its mission is to achieve sustainable prosperity for all in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.
Further information is available at www.cornwalldevelopmentcompany.co.uk
Openreach is responsible for the last mile of the UK access network – the copper wires and fibre connecting homes and businesses to their local telephone exchanges. Openreach provides communications providers with services and products associated with that network.
BT is one of the world’s leading providers of communications services and solutions, serving customers in more than 170 countries. Its principal activities include the provision of networked IT services globally; local, national and international telecommunications services to its customers for use at home, at work and on the move; broadband and internet products and services and converged fixed/mobile products and services. BT consists principally of four lines of business: BT Global Services, BT Retail, BT Wholesale and Openreach.
BT is the official communications services partner of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. BT is also a sustainability partner of the Games and a Premier Partner of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad.
In the year ended 31 March 2012, BT Group’s revenue was £18,897m with profit before taxation of £2,445m.
British Telecommunications plc (BT) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of BT Group plc and encompasses virtually all businesses and assets of the BT Group. BT Group plc is listed on stock exchanges in London and New York.
For more information, visit www.btplc.com