Ottery St Mary gets switched on

Four new fibre broadband cabinets mean over 1,300 people could now connect to superfast broadband; free workshops planned for local businesses 

Connecting Devon and Somerset has brought Superfast Broadband to Ottery St Mary. The town has had a massive boost in the numbers of people who can now access superfast broadband, with over 1,300 households and businesses now able to sign up following the switching on of four new fibre broadband cabinets. This has been made possible by the Connecting Devon and Somerset programme, which 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.

There will also be a free workshop in the area delivered by Connecting Devon and Somerset’s ‘Get up to Speed’ team, showing businesses how to take advantage of faster broadband to boost business opportunities and get more customers. It will be organised with the Ottery Chamber of Commerce, so will be promoted locally once a date is set. The Get up to Speed team provides information on how to benefit from faster broadband, seminars on digital technology, gadget shows and demonstrations.

John Campion, Chairman of Ottery’s Chamber of Commerce, said: “We’ve been looking forward to greater access to broadband for some time, as this will allow many more businesses to take advantage of the growing numbers of people shopping online. It also means that businesses themselves can stay in better contact with their staff even if they are working away from the office.

“We will be encouraging local businesses to take advantage of the free workshop to help them make best use of the faster broadband. Remember, anyone who wants to get the service will have to order a superfast broadband package from their internet service provider.”

Connecting Devon and Somerset, a partnership between local authorities in Devon and Somerset and BT, has been working to bring the improved broadband service to Ottery St Mary since February this year. Making the connection has been a real engineering challenge, requiring extensive works and some road closures in order to install the fibre-optic cable. Laurent Boon, BT programme manager for Connecting Devon and Somerset, explained:

“Bringing fibre broadband to Ottery St Mary was a major challenge, overcome by great teamwork with local authority highways and planning teams. It included extensive excavations, the laying of new ducting and some road closures. Now that this hard work has been done, we are delighted to be making this exciting technology available to many more people in the town. We expect to make further fibre broadband cabinets serving villages around Ottery St Mary ‘go live’ within the coming months.”

Councillor Andrew Leadbetter, Cabinet Member for Economy and Growth for Devon County Council, said: “It’s wonderful to see so many people getting connected as a result of this programme. It is predicted that Connecting Devon and Somerset will provide an economic boost to the region of around three quarters of a billion pounds and every new connection made will contribute to that.

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

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.get-up-to-speed.co.uk.

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Notes to Editors

For further information please contact: Richard Brown, JBP email: richard.brown@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.
    • 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 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