Digital connectivity is essential for economic growth. Cambridgeshire and Peterborough is a hugely diverse area with a rich mix of cities, market towns and rural areas, which presents both
challenges and opportunities in achieving the leading edge digital infrastructure needed for businesses to thrive.
Whilst the delivery of the Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority’s digital connectivity infrastructure strategy involves a complex combination of technology, civil engineering and investment, the overarching objectives are about community, connecting people and places, and supporting businesses to meet their full potential.
We want all businesses to have access to the leading-edge digital connectivity needed to help them succeed and to deliver sustainable growth, so we hope you find the information and signposting on this page helpful.
Fast, reliable internet connections are vital for economic growth because it means businesses across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough can thrive and compete in a global world.
Increasing numbers of people work flexibly from home and better broadband means they can keep connected without having to spend time and money travelling.
Across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, fewer than 60% of premises could get superfast broadband services up to 24Mbps in 2011. Our superfast broadband rollout project, combined with commercial provision, has now brought superfast access to well over 98% of premises – above the national average – with plans to reach over 99% coverage.
Check the Home Broadband Networks guide for advice for employees on how to maximise broadband speeds and capacity while working from home.
We are all more reliant on phone networks and internet services to stay in touch now.
It’s vital that people can keep connected when being asked to work from home or work remotely. But getting fast, reliable internet access can be a challenge – particularly when several people want to go online at the same time.
Connecting Cambridgeshire, the digital connectivity programme led by Cambridgeshire County Council, is working with telecoms operators to improve broadband and mobile coverage across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.
Our Enabling Digital Delivery service is supporting telecoms operators working on critical broadband and mobile networks, and can help to liaise with planners and streetworks.
Ofcom has tips for consumers to stay connected and information about how to improve indoor coverage and how to set up Wifi calling.
Digital switchover for businesses
Is your business ready for the Digital Switchover?
BT’s Openreach and Virgin Media O2 are upgrading their telephone landline networks and plan to turn off the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) by the end of 2025. After this date, all services will be provided using internet-based services. This presents a number of risks to businesses, but also an opportunity to benefit from embracing digital technology.
All businesses need to upgrade their telecoms systems. Moving to a full fibre broadband network and/or a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phone system is essential – otherwise, you risk losing the ability to communicate with your customers.
Any businesses with or responsible for premises need to look at the physical systems in place, such as emergency lift lines and fire or alarm systems, as they either won’t work at all or won’t work consistently on a new internet protocol (IP) network.
The main risk for health and social care businesses is that telecare services will be affected and require upgrading and/or adapting to fit the new technology. This is the biggest risk, as there has already been an instance following a fibre upgrade occurring where a resident died as their Care Line product wasn’t reconnected.
All of these problems will be further complicated by the closure of the 3G mobile network, so it’s a perfect storm of change.
To adapt to these infrastructure and technology changes, it’s essential that businesses become digitally included
and promote digital inclusivity. Full fibre is being rolled out by Openreach and Virgin Media O2 as well as by many smaller broadband suppliers, who can all provide businesses with fast, reliable, gigabit-capable connectivity – meaning no slow-down to connectivity, regardless of the number of devices or time of day.
If you have questions or want to know more about how to become a digitally included business – or would like to share information to help others about how your business has already digitalised and is preparing for the digital switchover – we’d love to hear from you. Contact us via email on firstname.lastname@example.org and quote ‘Digital Inclusion – Business’ in the subject line.
Growth Hub Cambridgeshire & Peterborough
The CPCA Growth Hub has free resources, support and advice for businesses in the region. It is funded by the Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority and is here to connect your business to the help, support, information and funding that you need to thrive and grow.
They also deliver strategic support programmes and courses that empower business leaders to develop their resilience, productivity, leadership and capacity and capability to grow.
Covering Cambridgeshire, Peterborough, West Norfolk, West Suffolk, North Hertfordshire, South Holland, South Kesteven and Uttlesford in Essex, their team of dedicated, expert professionals are here to help your business be the best it can be.
Business & IP Centre Cambridgeshire & Peterborough
Are you running or looking to start up a business? The Business & IP Centre (BIPC) Cambridgeshire & Peterborough provides free and low-cost business support and advice to start up business owners, entrepreneurs, and inventors like you.
They run workshops and events, offer one-to-one business support, and run an online programme of support.
Help to Grow: Digital
The Government’s Help to Grow: Digital scheme supports eligible businesses with up to 50% or £5,000 (excluding VAT) towards the cost of buying approved software.
Businesses are invited to register their interest for the scheme that supports eligible SMEs to choose, buy and integrate software into their business.
Embracing software and digital ways of working can help boost your business performance. Through the scheme you can access funding to help buy new software and free, impartial advice and guidance.
Digital Technology Grants for Business
Please note this scheme has now closed.
Connecting Cambridgeshire secured funding from the European Regional Development Fund and Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority to launch a grant scheme in February 2021 to support local businesses in making productive use of digital technologies to grow their businesses in response to the changing economic environment.
The scheme has now closed as all available funding has been allocated, but if you want to find out how the Digital Technology Grants for Business scheme has begun to support the growth and resilience of eligible small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough visit our digital case studies page.
Other useful links
- National Cyber Security Centre – Cyber Aware strategies to protect yourself online at this time.
- BT’s Small Business Support Scheme – BT announced its largest-ever commitment to Britain’s 5.8 million small businesses by launching the Small Business Support Scheme – introducing a range of new measures to help small business boost their connectivity, cash flow and confidence.
- Free digital mentorship for your business – Visa and Google UK, have joined forces with a number of other organisations to offer free support to small businesses in relation to digital skills in the form of mentoring, online courses, workshops and content.
- Is your business ready for the Digital Switchover? Find out a little bit more about the risks and opportunities.
If you need further advice on digital connectivity for your business please contact the Connecting Cambridgeshire team by email email@example.com stating your address, postcode, and situation.