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UK'S FIRST COUNTY-WIDE BROADBAND NETWORK LAUNCHED BY CAMBRIDGESHIRE CC

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NTL Business & Cambridgeshire County Council to deliver countywide broadband network to local community ...
NTL Business & Cambridgeshire County Council to deliver countywide broadband network to local community

- £29m contract to bring broadband to council offices, schools, libraries and community access points across Cambridgeshire

- First countywide broadband project to be awarded 'Pathfinder' status under the Private Finance Initiative for delivering joined-up government

- Supports Government objective for local authorities to implement full e-government by 2005

NTL Business, a leading national and local provider of integrated business communications, is partnering with Cambridgeshire CC to build the UK's most ambitious and inclusive countywide broadband community network. The contract is worth£29m over eight years.

By April 2004, the Cambridgeshire Community Network (CCN) will link more than 300 council buildings, including offices, schools and libraries, as well as community access points from pubs to post offices. More than 700 sites will eventually be connected across the county, subject to additional government funding or other opportunities.

Local people will be able to access the network via hundreds of computers situated across the county using high-speed broadband cable connections. The CCN will open the door to a range of new services, such as videoconferencing and electronic government transactions, to urban and rural communities across Cambridgeshire.

The broadband network will be the power behind Cambridgeshire's modernisation of public services, enabling the introduction of an internet community portal, smart cards for accessing services such as transport and leisure, and a customer contact centre. It features a comprehensive security service that blocks access to unsuitable web pages and filters inappropriate content, keeping the community safe online.

The CCN is the first community-wide broadband project to be funded under the government's private finance initiative, and has been awarded 'Pathfinder' status in recognition of its potential value as a blueprint for the aggregation of broadband demand within local authorities. Widespread broadband connectivity is seen as key to the government's objective for local authorities to introduce full electronic government by 2005.

'The Cambridgeshire Community Network will enable more effective, joined-up working between local councils, schools, the health service and the whole community,' says Keith Walters, leader of Cambridgeshire CC. 'The network will deliver broadband services where the cost of telecommunications previously has been a barrier to participation, providing the benefits of high-tech Cambridge to the Fens and the wider region.'

'With its proven track record of delivering 'on time, on budget', NTL Business was the natural choice to build our broadband community network in Cambridgeshire,' adds Walters.

Mike Wagner, managing director of NTL Business, says: 'The Cambridgeshire Community Network is a landmark for communications in local government, and the project required a technology provider with the capability to deliver a world-class broadband infrastructure. NTL Business won the contract on the strength of its technical solution, and is delighted to be working in partnership with Cambridgeshire County Council to make the CCN a reality.'

More on Cambridgeshire CC:

Cambridgeshire's population is about 560,000.

- Cambridgeshire's diverse economy spans agriculture and related industries in the fertile fens in the north of the county and new hi-tech and service industries in the south of the county. Cambridge is especially vibrant and is one of the UK's leading regions of economic growth. The city has an international reputation, leading universities and a base of world class businesses, concentrated on the industries of the 21st century - information technology, telecommunications, biotechnology and e-commerce.

- In the south of the county, there is a very high level of internet use and general literacy and good communications. To the north of the county, there is more agricultural land and communities with problems of rural isolation, difficult communications, lower literacy standards and a large community of travellers who traditionally support the agricultural and horticultural infrastructure.

- The Cambridgeshire Community Network is making a significant contribution to addressing social exclusion in some parts of the county, bringing skills development, training and access to technology to rural areas.

More on NTL:

- NTL Business is a leading national and local provider of integrated business communications. It is a£600m operation and customers include Royal Bank of Scotland, Tesco, Comet, AT&T and Orange. NTL Business offers a broad range of technologies and resources to provide complete multi-service solutions for businesses from large corporations to local companies.

- NTL has a 40-year heritage in providing highly-reliable, managed communications services to the public sector. Today, NTL is relied on by over 80% of the UK's emergency services, and has 27% customer share of the NHS for communications technology.

- In the UK, over 1 million business premises and 11 million homes are located within NTL's fibre-optic broadband network. It covers nearly 50% of the UK, including London, Manchester, Nottingham, Oxford, Cambridge, Cardiff, Glasgow and Belfast.

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