Connecting Devon and Somerset gives rural areas a boost with faster broadband speeds

More than 1,600 households and businesses across Bampton, Uffculme and Culmstock can now access superfast broadband for the first time


MP Neil Parish hailed the introduction of superfast broadband in Bampton, Culmstock and Uffculme. More than 1,600 households and businesses in the three communities can now benefit from improved speeds of up to 80Mbps, thanks to the Connecting Devon and Somerset (CDS) programme.

The MP for Tiverton and Honiton said: “I know that the roll-out of superfast broadband will have a positive effect on my constituents, regardless of whether they use it for work, school homework or general browsing. The introduction of superfast broadband to areas like Bampton, Culmstock and Uffculme is bringing more new businesses than ever to the area and I hope to continue seeing new faces. I am delighted that superfast broadband is being rolled out in some of the more rural areas of my constituency and Devon as a whole.”

Bampton & Culmstock (4 of 4)With increasing pressures on urban areas and greater flexibility in the workplace, more businesses are able to move to rural areas and reap the benefits of home working. Relocation has become more practical across Devon and Somerset, as a result of the success in rolling out improved broadband technology to rural areas.

Theresa Pitts, event co-ordinator at Club Peloton, said: “I’ve recently moved to Culmstock from London, but the best part is I didn’t even have to change jobs. Our company arranges high profile charity bike rides so with a little help from superfast broadband, we can be more flexible with our location.

“I’ve never been too much of a city girl and with growth in the charity and creative sectors, this means that other people like myself can consider relocating. Quality of life is integral to work performance, and I can already feel myself changing up a gear.”

Another local resident is Andrew Limbert, director of a company called Patternbank. He said: “We run our online business with our partners in London; the only difference between the two operations is that we run our end from Devon. We sell the finest handcrafted textile designs from some of the best print designers in the world and create inspirational trend reports, so the internet is integral to what we do.

“Although our partners are in London, thanks to our superfast broadband, they now rely on us for reliable upload and download speeds! It’s incredible that we can wake up to the sound of the chickens and still stay ahead of the technology curve.”

Humphrey Berridge, who runs the website, said: “Receiving faster broadband has made a huge difference to the town’s website. Our download speed is now five or six times quicker than it was originally. The arrival of the Connecting Devon and Somerset scheme also means that we can stay ahead with trends and upload video content onto Youtube. Uploading used to take five and a half hours per film, but now is superfast!”

Since the launch of CDS in 2013, more than 221,000 households and businesses can access superfast broadband for the first time. This year, CDS will continue to achieve the targets that have been set to rollout superfast broadband to about 90 percent of residents by the end of 2016.

Councillor Andrew Leadbetter, cabinet member for economy and growth for Devon County Council, said: “It’s great to see businesses choosing to move to the local area and appreciating our surroundings as much as we do. The addition of new businesses not only benefits the local economy, but also the local community as a whole.

“Connecting Devon and Somerset is doing a great job in implementing the necessary broadband infrastructure and if we continue to see levels of relocation, our local economy will continue to grow as a result, much to the benefit of everyone. However, we recognise that there is still more to do in other parts of Devon, so that they may also reap the same rewards”

Paul Coles, South West regional manager for BT, a major partner in the Connecting Devon and Somerset programme, said: “The arrival of high-speed fibre broadband in the communities of Bampton, Uffculme and Culmstock is another great example of Connecting Devon and Somerset providing a vital boost for rural communities. This exciting technology is transforming people’s lives, offering new learning, entertainment and business opportunities for local households and firms. Whatever you do online you can do it better with fibre broadband.”

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