Fibre broadband connections are bringing real business advantages to Cornwall, which is fast becoming one of the best-connected areas of the UK despite its relative geographical isolation.
The county's fibre broadband network has now reached 206,000 homes and businesses – 82 per cent of the population – making it one of the best connected areas in Britain and the best connected rural region in Europe.
Independent research, published by Plymouth University and Buckman Associates, show that the network is already providing a major economic boost to SMEs in the region. Early indications from the study – the first of its kind to explore the economic impact of fibre broadband on British SMEs – found that, after 12 months, 83 per cent of them were saving time and money because of their fibre connections.
Some 58 per cent of SMEs surveyed said their business is growing because of the technology, while 26 per cent have either created or safeguarded jobs as a direct result of the efficiency and innovation that superfast broadband encourages.
As well as the reported increase in jobs and revenues, over a third of businesses completing the survey (37.5 per cent) reported that superfast broadband had helped their business to generate new sales, with a quarter of that group pointing to new trade overseas.
Neelie Kroes, vice-president of the European Commission, said: 'This research has real international significance because it starts to vindicate what we’ve said all along - that fibre broadband will energise our economy, generate jobs, and save public money.
'With the help of major investment by the European Regional Development Fund, businesses can now take advantage of fibre broadband in Cornwall to become more competitive and more productive. For both businesses and the communities they serve, there can be no better investment in our future than superfast broadband.'