Superfast broadband becomes a ‘hot topic’ as it is rolled out across Wells

Over 3540 businesses and households in Wells now have access to faster, more reliable broadband 

Connecting Devon and Somerset (CDS) has brought superfast broadband to Wells. The city is becoming one of the best connected communities within the CDS programme. More than 3540 Wells homes and businesses are now able to connect to high-speed fibre broadband following the installation of 12 fibre broadband cabinets, which represent approximately half of the total deployment in the city. Coverage of the new fibre broadband network in the city will further increase as engineering work continues in the coming months.

CDS is on target to make superfast broadband speeds of 24Mbps and above available to around 90 per cent of homes and businesses in the two counties by the end of 2016.

Somerset County Council Leader John Osman, attended a special event celebrating the switch on of the fibre broadband cabinets in Wells, where Councillors and CDS and BT representatives talked about the great benefits superfast broadband will deliver to local businesses and households. The event was held at the Swan Hotel, which featured in the hit British film Hot Fuzz and is one of the first businesses in Wells to place an order for superfast broadband.

Over 100,000 homes and businesses now have access to fibre broadband through the CDS programme. A further £45m has now been committed to the project; meaning close to £140m will be invested on bringing Devon and Somerset 95 per cent coverage by the end of 2017. The partners in CDS are Devon and Somerset County Councils; North Somerset, Bath and North East Somerset, Plymouth and Torbay councils; along with BT as delivery partner.

Cllr David Hall, deputy leader of Somerset County Council, said: “CDS remains on target to make superfast broadband available to around 90 per cent of our homes and businesses by the end of 2016. This project is making a huge difference to people’s lives - the take-up rate in the areas that have gone live this year underlines just how just how keen businesses and members of the public are to get connected, and what a difference it can make.”

Tracy Aarons, corporate manager, Built Environment of Mendip District Council, said: “It’s great news that superfast broadband has arrived in Wells. It’s set to be rolled out to even more of the city soon, but this is a fantastic start and will have a really positive impact for businesses and residents in Wells. People here can now benefit from broadband services as high in speed and reliability as anywhere else in the country.”

Mark Tobin, general manager of the Swan Hotel and a major business leader in the city, said: “Superfast broadband will have an enormously positive impact on the City of Wells, the Best Western Plus Swan Hotel and the economy of the City in general. To have 21st century technology in a 15th century building like the Swan will be quite something. Slow Wi-Fi connectivity is a problem for both domestic and overseas visitors, many of whom are used to superfast broadband in their own homes and businesses. Wells continues to grow as a major international tourist destination and business hub and the arrival of superfast broadband to the city will only aid the growth and diversity of our wonderfully vibrant City moving forward.”

Michael Johns, vice chairman of Wells Chamber of Commerce and Tourism, said: “Superfast broadband is rapidly becoming an absolute necessity for businesses of all types and sizes, so for us to be able to say that Wells will have almost full superfast coverage is a real boon. Taking advantage of this should stand Wells-based companies in good stead, safe in the knowledge they’ve got the tools necessary to compete, whether that be regionally, nationally or even internationally.”

CDS has gathered significant momentum in recent months, with more than 460 cabinets now ‘live’ thanks to the programme. In addition, more than 2,500 individuals and businesses have attended events as part of the Get up to Speed programme, designed to help people get the most out of faster broadband through training events, workshops and roadshows.

Paul Coles, South West regional manager for BT, said: “The arrival of superfast fibre broadband in Wells is another important milestone for the Connecting Devon and Somerset programme. Our engineers are working hard to make this exciting technology very widely available across the city. Superfast broadband will make a major contribution to the future success and prosperity of Wells. Businesses can use it to boost their competitiveness, whilst households can benefit from enhanced online learning and entertainment. Whatever you do online you can do it better with fibre broadband.”


Notes to Editors

  • 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.
In 2011 the programme secured £32 million of funding from the government agency Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) and both Somerset and Devon County Councils put in £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 the Programme is investing £94 million to improve broadband connectivity.

In 2014 BDUK announced a further £22.75m allocated to the CDS programme to support the extension of superfast broadband coverage to 95 per cent of premises nationally. This has been matched locally, which means the programme has over £45 million further to invest in bringing superfast broadband to the area.

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