Expansion of superfast broadband in Yeovil

High-speed fibre broadband now available to more than twenty thousand Yeovil homes and businesses;

news welcomed by The Rt. Hon. David Laws MP
Connecting Devon and Somerset (CDS) today announced a major expansion of superfast fibre broadband in Yeovil. The partnership has just made superfast broadband available to over 2,000 homes and businesses in the town - and expects to reach another 1,500 over the next year.

It means that nearly 23,000 households and businesses in the Yeovil exchange area will be able to get fibre broadband when BT’s commercial roll-out is also taken into account

The CDS programme is on target to make superfast broadband speeds of 24Mbps and above available to around 90 percent of homes and businesses by the end of 2016.

The celebration of superfast broadband in Yeovil took place at Lupimedia, a local multimedia company that has already experienced a significant 15 per cent boost in productivity over the last 12 months following them signing up to the new superfast connection. James Ovenden, director and founder of Lupimedia highlighted how Lupimedia has taken advantage of faster broadband to boost their business.

“High-speed fibre broadband is a very exciting step forward for Lupimedia. It has provided staff with great speeds and a consistent service regardless of the number of users online. What’s more, the business has seen a 15 per cent increase in productivity since switching. All staff are able to work on the network simultaneously; download and upload speeds have increased substantially,” he said

Education Minister and Yeovil MP, David Laws, has been campaigning for superfast broadband in the region. Commenting on the latest news from Connecting Devon and Somerset, Mr Laws said: “This is fantastic news for our area. This project will bring huge benefits to our local economy as superfast broadband will encourage the expansion of private enterprise in Somerset and lead to the creation of more jobs. It also makes access to online learning resources available to more people in more locations.

“The Government’s superfast broadband scheme now means that a further 1.5 million UK homes and businesses, who would not otherwise have received this technology, can now connect. Since its inception last year, Connecting Devon and Somerset has made fibre broadband available to over 75,000 homes and businesses across the region – a considerable achievement.

“With the new £38 million funding announced in August this year, Connecting Devon and Somerset will be able to reach 95 per cent of people across the region by 2017, and its ultimate aim remains to provide 100 per cent coverage.

“However I am very aware that not everyone in this area can benefit from this level of improved access. I will go on pushing further to ensure better service for residential areas and businesses that are not yet covered.”

Connecting Devon and Somerset’s ‘Get up To Speed’ team recently joined forces with Barclays to provide Yeovil with a free workshop on how to boost business online. More than 30 people attended the workshop. The session provided valuable tips to local residents and businesses on how to take advantage of faster broadband to boost business opportunities and get more customers. The Get up To Speed team provided information on how to benefit from faster broadband, seminars on digital technology, gadget shows and demonstrations.

Cllr David Hall, Somerset County Council's Cabinet member for Business, Inward Investment and Policy, said: “This is a significant step for Yeovil. Connecting Devon and Somerset is working at pace despite the challenging conditions to bring this technology to our rural communities.

“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. Connecting Devon and Somerset has the power to unlock seven hundred and fifty million pounds in the local economy and every new connection made will significantly contribute to that.”

Making the connection has so far been a real engineering challenge, requiring extensive work, including excavations and some road closures, in order to install the fibre-optic cable. The challenge was heightened by the severe weather that affected Somerset this year as Paul Coles, BT South West regional manager, explains:

“The expansion of fibre broadband in Yeovil is a considerable achievement following the severe flooding in Somerset earlier this year. The challenges, which were intensified by the exceptional weather, were overcome by great teamwork with local authority highways and planning teams. Around 21,000 premises in the Yeovil exchange area already have access to this exciting technology through BT’s commercial roll-out of fibre broadband and Connecting Devon and Somerset – and our work will continue over the coming months to make it available to even more local businesses and households. ”

More information on Connecting Devon and Somerset can be found at the website: www.connectingdevonandsomerset.co.uk. To find out more about ‘Get up to Speed’ events in your area visit www.getuptospped.co.uk. To register for the Boost Your Business Online workshop visit www.Barclays.co.uk/localclinics.

- Ends -

Notes to Editors

For further information please contact: Sofia Costa, JBP email: sofia.costa@jbp.co.uk or 0117 907 6510
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.
• 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