Superfast broadband for 25 more communities by the end of July 14
Connecting Devon and Somerset (CDS) today confirmed the next 25 communities to benefit from the £94 million programme bringing superfast broadband to rural areas.
Last month, the programme announced that it would make high-speed fibre broadband available to 70,000 homes and businesses by the end of July 14, revealing the names of the latest exchange areas to be included in the CDS roll-out plans. Now it has been able to go one step further and pinpoint the actual communities within those exchange areas which will benefit.
In Devon the communities of Ashford, Landkey, Heanton Punchardon, Braunton, Morthoe, Swimbridge, Burlescombe, Feniton, Ottery St Mary, Dunkeswell, Membury, Honiton, Newton Abbot, Ashburton, Ilsington, Kingskerswell, Bovey Tracey and Belstone will benefit. In Somerset, the programme will roll-out to Horton, Barrington, Ilminster, Broadway, Dowlish Wake , Kingstone, and Wellington*.
The new communities follow the 19 exchange areas** where fibre has already been made available through the programme, with a further seven areas*** due to ‘go live’ by the end of March 14.
The programme has updated the current infrastructure deployment map to reflect this latest announcement with the map being regularly updated when individual cabinets ‘go live’.
Alongside the private sector’s commercial roll-out, the Connecting Devon and Somerset programme aims to make superfast broadband speeds of 24Mbps and above available to around 90 per cent of homes and businesses by the end of 2016. It also plans to ensure a minimum of 2Mbps for all premises within the programme area. The multi million pound 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.
Superfast broadband is vital to create a more resilient economy across both counties and the peninsula as a whole. This is particularly important in the wake of the recent adverse weather and the impact on infrastructure. The local authorities in the partnership will be continuing to press the case for further funding as part of the overall drive to improve resilience.
Councillor David Hall, Deputy Leader of Somerset County Council, said:
“It is great to see the next communities to benefit from superfast broadband announced. Connecting Devon and Somerset is working at pace despite the current challenging conditions to bring this technology to our rural communities.
“We also welcome today’s announcement from the Department of Culture Media and Sport (DCMS) of the additional funding available to the Connecting Devon and Somerset Programme to help extend superfast broadband coverage to 95 per cent of premises. At a time when we are working hard to secure the future of our infrastructure and the resilience of both our counties, the provision of superfast broadband to our residents and businesses is a critical part of the mix.”
Councillor Andrew Leadbetter, Cabinet Member for Economy and Growth for Devon County Council, said:
“With the recent weather highlighting the weaknesses in our critical infrastructure, superfast broadband has become even more essential to ensure that our businesses remain competitive and our economy continues to grow. Superfast broadband can dramatically alter how we work – opening up home working and other measures to improve efficiency and enable rural communities and businesses to continue to function in all but the most extreme circumstances.”
Laurent Boon, BT’s programme manager for Connecting Devon and Somerset, said:
“The announcement today is another example of the programme’s commitment to keeping communities fully informed of the roll-out as soon as the plans have been checked and confirmed. Despite the continuing bad weather, the Connecting Devon and Somerset programme continues to achieve great progress.”
* Some of the towns included in today’s announcement, such as Newton Abbot, Honiton, Ilminster and Wellington, already have some fibre broadband through commercial investment by the private sector. In such cases the Connecting Devon and Somerset programme builds on this work by making the high-speed technology even more widely available.
** Previously announced areas where fibre is already available: Sticklepath, Bradford- On-Tone, West Monkton, Taunton, Exeter, Holsworthy, Bridgwater, Exminster, Okehampton, Bishops Lydeard, Henlade, North Curry, Wellington, Kennford, Crediton, Hatherleigh, Barnstaple, Hemyock and Newton St.Cyres.
*** Areas set to get fibre broadband by the end of March 2014: Blagdon Hill, Moretonhampstead, Christow, North Tawton, Greenham, Milverton and Longdown.