Connecting Devon and Somerset announces superfast broadband for 25 communities

Following last month’s announcement on exchange areas, CDS confirms the communities to benefit from high-speed fibre broadband 
Connecting Devon and Somerset (CDS) today confirmed the next 25 communities to benefit from the £94 million programme to bring 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 and revealed 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, they include Ashford, Landkey, Heanton Punchardon, Braunton, Morthoe, Swimbridge, Burlescombe, Feniton, Ottery St Mary, Dunkeswell, Membury, Honiton, Newton Abbot, Ashburton, Ilsington, Kingskerswell, Bovey Tracey and Belstone. 

In Somerset, the programme will roll-out to Horton, Barrington, Ilminster, Broadway, Dowlish Wake , Kingstone, and Wellington*. 

Today’s announcement comes as a result of the detailed survey work that is critical in determining how the roll-out plan takes shape through the life of the programme. 

The new locations follow 19 exchange areas** where the partnership has already made fibre available and a further seven areas*** which are due to ‘go live’ by the end of March – see Notes to Editors for further details of these locations. 

The programme has updated the interactive map on the CDS website, www.connectingdevonandsomerset.co.uk, to reflect this latest announcement. The map is 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. 

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.” 

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. 
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 homeworking 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.” 


Notes to Editors 
For further information please contact: Julie Everett at Coast Communications on 01752 847135 / 07866002635or email julie@coastmarcoms.co.uk 
For BT enquiries contact Jason Mann on 0800 085 0660. All news releases can be accessed at our web site: http://www.bt.com/newscentre 

*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. 

• 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 now a £94 million project. 

For more information, visit www.connectingdevonandsomerset.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: https://www.gov.uk/broadband-delivery-uk