Broadband rollout update for Central Devon MP
Plans for the ongoing rollout of broadband across Devon and Somerset have been discussed with MP Mel Stride.
The MP for Central Devon met with the team from Connecting Devon and Somerset (CDS), and broadband provider Gigaclear, at Sandford, near Crediton. He was briefed on the roll-out of Fibre to the Home in his constituency by Gigaclear’s Chief Executive Matthew Hare and representatives from CDS.
Gigaclear also provided a demonstration of its LIDAR laser imaging vehicle being used to survey roads where ultrafast fibre will be installed.
As part of the CDS programme, Gigaclear will be providing a new ultrafast full fibre network that will connect direct to 47,000 homes and businesses across the CDS region. This will enable both homes and businesses in the CDS contract area to access speeds of up to 1Gbps (1,000Mbps).
Mel Stride MP said: “The CDS programme is now moving into those more rurally isolated areas – such as around Sandford. It’s a real challenge but we’re meeting that challenge. Over the next year, with CDS working with Gigaclear, we’re going to see a number of people and businesses getting a really fast service and that’s so important because those areas also suffer from connectivity problems in other ways such as transport issues – which makes fast broadband doubly important, and I’m really encouraged by what I’ve seen.”
Councillor Stuart Barker, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Economy and Skills, said: “We’re making good progress with broadband provision in Central Devon, and across Devon and Somerset, but we will see a significant improvement over the next couple of years. So far, in Central Devon, CDS has funded 55% of the broadband infrastructure even though Government has estimated that, overall, two thirds of all broadband infrastructure in rural England will be provided commercially. Without our investment, commercial provision would only have covered 19% of home and businesses in the Central Devon constituency.”
Matthew Hare, Chief Executive of Gigaclear, said: “Working with CDS, we are building an all new full fibre network that will transform the online abilities of those living and working in these areas. To design this network as efficiently as possible and to minimise disruption to local traffic we plan to avoid digging in the highway wherever possible. To facilitate this we have invested in several new technologies, one of which is our LIDAR truck which performs a laser and radar survey of the paths the new fibre cables will take to better understand the make-up of the ground to be dug, improving design deliverability.”
Combined CDS and commercial superfast in Central Devon is currently 74% and is set to reach 90% by 2020.
CDS connects some of the hardest to reach communities in England, where the commercial market will not provide the infrastructure. It does this by awarding public subsidised contracts to companies through competitive tender to build the infrastructure needed, such as fibre cables or wireless masts. CDS is only able to invest where suppliers have no declared and credible plans to invest their own resources to extend their networks.
The CDS programme is the largest of its kind in England. It is supported with funding from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, the EU’s European Regional Development Fund, the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership and local authorities across the region.
To date, the CDS programme has provided access to superfast broadband to almost 300,000 homes and businesses across the whole of Devon and Somerset – with a further 38,000 in the two counties now able to access improved broadband speeds.
CDS will be launching a new broadband voucher scheme for residents and businesses in the coming months, and it is also planning to launch schemes to support community broadband solutions later this year.