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Connecting Devon and Somerset announces superfast broadband for dozens more communities

Press Release   •   Jul 03, 2014 00:00 BST

Connecting Devon and Somerset today announced that a further 25 communities 1 can now get high-speed fibre broadband as a result of the £94 million programme to bring superfast broadband to rural areas.

The latest locations include the Devon communities of Chudleigh, Tedburn St Mary, Whitestone, Ashford (near Barnstaple), Braunton, Burlescombe, Heanton Punchardon, Landkey, Mortehoe, North Tawton and Swimbridge. Please note: a full list of locations is provided at the end of this news release.

This means that a total of 56 communities 2 in Devon and Somerset now have access as the programme continues to roll-out at a pace, bringing new technology and faster speeds.

The programme has also been able to provide additional coverage around the fringes of Barnstaple, Bideford, Totnes, Newton Abbot, Honiton, Ilminster, Taunton and Bridgwater.

Connecting Devon and Somerset (CDS) announced a further 17 communities 3 which are next in line for the roll-out and subject to engineering considerations will be connected by October 2014.

These include: Ilfracombe, Kingsbridge, Ipplepen, Great Torrington, Combe Martin, Dunkeswell, Stokenham, West Down, Ashill, Woolfardisworthy and Denbury/Torbryan

Devon and Somerset has been selected by the Government as one of the pilot areas for the £10 million innovation fund to explore alternative technologies.

To date, Connecting Devon and Somerset has connected 173 new roadside superfast cabinets with a further 75 becoming ready for service by early July.

The programme, which has laid 980 kilometres of spine cable since the roll-out started last year, has also connected its first Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) business in the Westpark 26 Business Park near Wellington, Somerset.

Somerdale International Ltd, one of the leading exporters of cheese and dairy products in the UK, is a supplier of high quality Cheddars as well as traditional hand crafted artisan cheeses.

FTTP - where the fibre runs all the way to the home or business - has the capability to provide even faster speeds of up to 330Mbps4.

Somerdale’s IT Manager, John Beardon, said: “All our staff whether working abroad or remotely in the UK need to be able to access core business data at any time. The improvement in reliability and speed that FTTP has given us has meant we now have a system we can rely on to work quickly and effectively.”

In addition to the roll-out, Connecting Devon and Somerset’s Get up To Speed programme has begun in earnest. Run on behalf of CDS by the Cosmic Peninsula Consortium, Get up to Speed brings gadget shows, e-commerce workshops, social media sessions and a host of other events to different areas and audiences.

So far, the team has created bespoke sessions for farmers and business organisations, visited parishes and taken briefing sessions to Barclays bank to help them advise rural businesses.
Later in the year, the programme will also be found taking the Gadget show to Holsworthy Market, undertaking a 3 event roadshow around Taunton Deane as well as presenting sessions on the A-Z of selling online and Talking Tablets with communities.

In September, the team will be joining forces with the Met Office who will be talking about their digital strategy for working with small rural businesses.

Councillor David Hall, Deputy Leader of Somerset County Council, said: “Today’s announcement means many more communities across Devon and Somerset can enjoy the countless benefits of the digital world. For our businesses, it means improved efficiency, the development of online markets and the potential for growth. Our rural communities can have the same access to public services, information and entertainment that is already enjoyed by our urban areas.

“To take the programme even further, we have also worked hard with Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) on our application to the Superfast Extension Programme (SEP)5 which was submitted on Monday. We want to access all the £22.75 million funding available to us to make superfast broadband available to 95 per cent of premises by the end of 20175.”

Councillor Andrew Leadbetter, Cabinet Member for Economy and Growth for Devon County Council, said: “Connecting Devon and Somerset is succeeding in bringing superfast broadband to our rural communities and businesses. Get up to Speed is also hugely important as part of our drive to enable our businesses and communities to make the most out of superfast broadband.

“We are pleased that the government has made £175,000 available to fund a pilot scheme in our area to look at reaching the final five per cent not covered by the existing programme or the SEP. It shows that our work behind the scenes, lobbying Ministers, is paying off.”

Laurent Boon, the BT programme manager for CDS, said: “The Connecting Devon and Somerset roll-out of fibre broadband has already made substantial progress and is continuing at a rapid pace. This exciting technology is providing a vital boost for local communities across the two counties. Businesses are using fibre broadband to work more efficiently and spread their wings to find new customers in the UK and sometimes much further afield, whilst households are benefiting from the improved online learning and leisure opportunities. It means stronger businesses and better job opportunities for local people.”

The multi million pound CDS partnership includes Devon and Somerset County Councils, Bath and North East Somerset, North Somerset, Plymouth and Torbay Councils, BT and the UK Government’s Superfast Britain programme.

Connecting Devon and Somerset, alongside the private sector’s commercial programme, aims to make superfast broadband available to around 90 per cent of premises by the end of 2016. It also intends to ensure a minimum of 2 Mbps for all homes and businesses within the programme area.

Anyone wishing to access the new service will need to contact their Internet Service Provider to discuss a new package.

To find out more about Get up to Speed, please email: info@get-up-to-speed.co.uk. More information on Connecting Devon and Somerset can be found at the website: www.connectingdevonandsomerset.co.uk

Ends

1 The 25 communities are: Cannington, Chilton Trinity, Nether Stowey, North Petherton, Otterhampton, Pawlett, Puriton, Spaxton, Tedburn St. Mary, Whitestone, Ashford, Barrington, Braunton, Burlescombe, Chudleigh, Dowlish Wake, Heanton Punchardon, Horton, Ilsington, Kingstone, Landkey, Milverton, Mortehoe, North Tawton and Swimbridge.

2 Thirty one communities have already been announced. They are: Belstone, Bishop’s Hull, Bishop’s Lydeard, Bradford-on-Tone, Combe Florey, Cotford St Luke, Crediton, Creech St Michael, Dunchideock, Exminster, Hatherleigh, Hemyock, Holsworthy, Newton St Cyres, Nynehead, Okehampton, Okehampton Hamlets, Petrockstow, Ruishton, Sandford, Shillingford St George, South Tawton, Sticklepath, Stoke St Gregory, Thurloxton, Wellington, West Buckland, West Monkton, Kennford, Henlade and North Curry. The programme has also been able to provide additional coverage around the fringes of Barnstaple, Bideford, Totnes, Newton Abbot, Honiton, Ilminster, Taunton and Bridgwater.

3 The 17 parishes due to go live by October 2014 are: Ashill, Beercrocombe, Catcott, Chilton Polden, Combe Martin, Denbury/Torbryan, Dunkeswell, Edington, Fivehead, Great Torrington, Ilfracombe, Ipplepen, Kingsbridge, Milborne Port, Stokenham, West Down and Woolfardisworthy.
4 330Mbps is the top wholesale speed. Internet service providers (ISPs) may use different speeds in their advertising. Individual line speeds will depend on network infrastructure and the service chosen by the ISP.

5The Government’s Superfast Extension Programme aims to take this figure to 95 per cent by the end of 2017.


Notes to Editors
For further information please contact: Julie Everett at Coast Communications on 01579 352600/ 07866002635or email julie@coastmarcoms.co.uk
For BT enquiries contact the BT Regional Press Office on 0800 085 0660. All news releases can be accessed at our web site: http://www.bt.com/newscentre

  • Most of the programme will be Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) technology, where the fibre runs from the telephone exchange to a fibre optic street cabinet.
    • It can deliver download speeds of up to 80Mbps and upload speeds of up to 20Mbps. These are the top wholesale speeds available to all service providers; speeds offered by service providers may vary.
    • According to regulator Ofcom, the average download speed in Devon was 11Mbps and in Somerset 10.1Mbps.
  • The new network is available on an open, wholesale basis to all broadband service providers. Households and businesses wishing to place an order or find out more about fibre broadband should contact their service provider.
  • About Connecting Devon and Somerset
    Councils across Devon and Somerset are working together to bring faster broadband to the area and deliver improved broadband for rural Devon and Somerset – the “final third” – rural areas that are unlikely to benefit from commercial investment in broadband.

    The Connecting Devon and Somerset project covers Devon County Council, Somerset County Council, Bath and North East Somerset Council, Plymouth City Council, Torbay Council, and North Somerset Council areas.

    The project has secured £32 million of funding from the government agency Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) and both Somerset and Devon County Councils will be putting in up to £10 million each. Further funding from Bath and North East Somerset Council brought the public sector total close to £53 million. With the £41 million additional investment from BT, Connecting Devon and Somerset is a £94 million project.
    For more information, visit www.connectingdevonandsomerset.co.uk

    About “Get up to Speed”
    The ‘Get up to Speed’ service is delivered by the Cosmic Peninsula Consortium on behalf of Connecting Devon and Somerset. The newly established consortium, formed by Peninsula Enterprise and Cosmic IT, will undertake a series of workshops and events that will follow the infrastructure roll out as it moves across Devon and Somerset, helping businesses and individuals access information and develop the skills they need to get the most from the faster broadband speeds.
    For more information please visit www.get-up-to-speed.co.uk

    About Superfast Britain
    Superfast Britain is a Government programme of investment in broadband and communication infrastructure across the UK. Run by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, this investment helps businesses to grow, creates jobs and will make Britain more competitive in the global race. The portfolio is comprised of three elements:
    • £780m to extend superfast broadband to 95% of the UK by 2017
    • £150m to provide high speed broadband to businesses in 22 cities
    • £150m to improve quality and coverage of mobile phone and basic data network services
    Administered on behalf of Government by Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK), Superfast Britain is transforming Britain by promoting growth, enabling skills and learning, and improving quality of life.
    For further information, visit https://www.gov.uk/broadband-delivery-uk