Superfast broadband, superfast deployment in Minehead

More than 5,500 businesses and households in Minehead and the surrounding area now have access to faster broadband, news welcomed by Ian Liddell-Grainger MP.

Fibre broadband has hit Minehead in a big way, with 89 per cent of premises connected to the exchange now able to order this new service. An event held at the Beach Hotel celebrating the arrival of superfast broadband in the town, where Ian Liddell-Grainger, MP for Bridgwater and West Somerset and Councillor David Hall, deputy leader of Somerset Council are talking about the benefits for businesses, along with local business owner and chairman of the Minehead Chamber of Commerce, Graham Sizer.

Currently, there are 23 cabinets live within the Minehead area, meaning that more than 5,500 premises can access the new fibre infrastructure – of these, nearly 5,400 can access superfast broadband speeds of above 24Mbps. A further four cabinets, three of which are currently being built, will be activated before the programme is complete.

Since 2013, the CDS programme has made fibre broadband available to more than 100,000 homes and businesses across the Devon and Somerset region. The programme is building on commercial roll-outs with the aim of reaching at least 90 per cent of homes and businesses across the two counties by the end of 2016.

Ian Liddell-Grainger, MP for Bridgwater and West Somerset, said: “The Connecting Devon and Somerset programme has been a triumph in supporting communities like Minehead; it underlines just how critical quality connectivity is for business and households in the modern age. This community has so much to offer for its residents and visitors alike and is now getting the communications infrastructure it deserves.

“Superfast broadband is now available to more than 5,500 businesses and homes in Minehead with more to follow soon. It will hugely improve the lives of busy households, whether that be with online shopping, managing bills and banking, education, or social networking.”

This month, the government announced that public and private sector broadband partnerships have now made broadband speeds of 24Mbps and above available to two million households and businesses across the country.

Councillor David Hall said: “It’s wonderful that Somerset and Devon are leading the way when it comes to rolling out superfast broadband. From our dialogue with residents and businesses, it’s clear that this has a massive impact on the areas it benefits. We’re delighted for those in Minehead that are taking advantage and look forward to rolling out further areas in due course.

“Reaching this many people with fibre shows that we’re well on track to reach our goal of around 90 per cent superfast by the end of 2016 and with the further funding announced recently, Connecting Devon and Somerset is on target to reach the goal of 100 per cent superfast broadband by 2020.”

Ian Timms, West Somerset Councils Assistant Director, said: “Superfast Broadband is the key piece of infrastructure which can really make a difference in West Somerset – it’s the area’s communications ‘motorway’. This is great news for Minehead as it will support businesses and provide a very welcome boost for the town and the local economy. It`s also great to hear that further cabinets will be connected in Minehead and the surrounding area soon.”

Graham Sizer, chairman of the Minehead Chamber of Commerce, said: “I’ve taken the opportunity to get superfast broadband and I’m delighted with it – it’s given me an extra hour every day, simply because of the speed with which I can get everything done online now. It’s reduced the time I need to spend at the computer by 25 per cent, which is a real benefit to my Chamber activities. It really does make a huge difference.”

Benefitting from an 80 Mbps connection, the Beach Hotel is a fitting location and is in itself a Minehead success story, a thriving business that reflects the air of positivity around the Somerset resort presently. Run by the Somerset Coast YMCA, the hotel opened in 2014, having received £332,000 from the Coastal Community Fund for a refurbishment that has boosted jobs and apprenticeships in the town.

The Beach Hotel has been enjoying the benefits of superfast broadband since gaining connection to the high-speed technology.

“We now have access to broadband speeds of 80mbps but have elected to take services of 40mbps, which is a vast improvement over the speeds we were getting before. Guests will soon be able to watch services such as Netflix while staying at the venue, check their emails and take part in business meetings using Skype thanks to the arrival of superfast broadband.

“--This improvement has allowed us to finally make full use of our electronic point of sale (EPOS) system, which we’ve simply been unable to use up until now. This means we are now able to speed up payments, making a significant impact on day to day operations. These improvements should also lead to a rise in conference bookings, as fast reliable broadband has become a must have for the majority of our business clients.” said Dave Jackson, Manager of The Beach Hotel.

Laurent Boon, BT Programme Director said “This is what the Connecting Devon and Somerset project is all about – making a real difference to communities across the county in improving business, education and leisure opportunities and accessibility generally.

“The programme has made substantial progress since the first fibre cabinet went live back in 2013 and it is exciting to hear about the real benefits that people are already experiencing from having this technology.

“Together, we and our public sector partners are creating a lasting legacy, which will play a vital role in the future success and prosperity of our local communities. Already nearly 22 million UK households and businesses can benefit from the huge opportunities offered by fibre broadband with many more joining them every month.”

More information on Connecting Devon and Somerset can be found at the website:www.connectingdevonandsomerset.co.uk

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The Government’s nationwide rollout of superfast broadband – internet speeds greater than 24Mbps – has now reached more than two million homes and businesses.
BT’s high speeds fibre broadband network now reaches almost 22 million premises. The network is open to all communications providers on an equal basis – with more than 140 communications providers now offering fibre broadband in the UK.

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 already secured £32 million of funding from the government agency Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) and both Somerset and Devon County Councils have 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 and the recent announcement of £38 million, Connecting Devon and Somerset is now a £132 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