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1,000th fibre cabinet installed in Connecting Devon and Somerset broadband rollout

Press Release   •   Jan 14, 2016 11:13 GMT

1,000th fibre cabinet installed in Connecting Devon and Somerset broadband rollout

Another landmark moment for the Devon and Somerset fibre broadband programme

Axminster is the latest community to benefit from fibre broadband thanks to the multimillion pound roll-out from Connecting Devon and Somerset

The multimillion pound Connecting Devon and Somerset (CDS) partnership today announced it had reached a major milestone in its roll-out of superfast fibre broadband.

The 1,000th CDS fibre broadband roadside cabinet has just gone ‘live’ in Axminster. More than 1,700 households and businesses in the Devon town already have access to faster fibre broadband speeds of up to 80Mbps with the roll-out expected to reach more than 4,300 premises in the Axminster area during 2016.

Andy Cable, proprietor of online music store Axe Music, who is based in Axminster, welcomed the latest milestone saying: “This is fantastic news for not only our business but Axminster as a whole.

“We are fortunate to be accessing superfast speeds of up to 80Mbps, which is pretty impressive. It has made our online processes, such as customers paying by debit card, much more quick and efficient. There are quite a few branches of our company around the country, so it’s great that we now have the technology to keep up with the others. With faster connectivity as a result of Connecting Devon and Somerset, we’ll be able to be more competitive in what is a very tough market.

“I’m glad that I placed my order to get superfast broadband installed – I’d encourage everybody to take advantage.”

The programme is making excellent progress to provide faster broadband to the ‘final third’ of premises unlikely to benefit from the private sector’s commercial broadband investment, the majority in rural locations. Since its launch in 2013, CDS has made superfast fibre optic broadband available to more than 221,000 households and businesses – and the number is continuing to grow rapidly.

The rollout has gathered momentum with the achievement of many milestones over the past year as fibre broadband services became available to about 8,500 more premises each month. CDS is on track to make superfast broadband available to around 90 per cent of Devon and Somerset premises by the end of 2016.

Councillor Andrew Leadbetter, cabinet member for economy and growth for Devon County Council, said: “Reaching this milestone is a great achievement, and an especially welcome one, as we start the New Year as people are increasingly relying on the internet for shopping, playing games online and other leisure activities. Our plan to bring superfast broadband to around 90 per cent of homes and businesses by the end of 2016 is continuing at pace and on schedule, with a committed team working hard to overcome challenges and close the digital divide to benefit local businesses, boost the economy and improve the internet access we all rely on as part of our everyday lives. There is still a lot of work to do, but we hope the next phase of the programme will increase coverage further.”

Councillor David Hall, Somerset County Council’s cabinet member for business inward investment and policy, said: “This is a positive start to 2016, connecting rural premises to improved digital technologies. It is more than two years since the first cabinet went live and now over 221,000 households and businesses can access superfast broadband. Throughout phase one of the programme, CDS has demonstrated its commitment to over-coming challenges and in doing so, it is on schedule. Now the New Year is under way, we look forward to continuing to set a high benchmark for the continuation for the rollout scheme.”

Paul Coles, BT South West regional manager, said: “The fact that Connecting Devon and Somerset has already successfully installed its 1,000th fibre broadband cabinet – and many thousands of miles of optical fibre – demonstrates the great success of this partnership. Every week our engineers are rolling out high-speed fibre broadband to more communities in challenging locations. This exciting technology is providing a major boost for local households and businesses. If you are a businessperson, you can use it to find new customers and work more efficiently. If you are a local resident, you can use fibre broadband for a wide range of activities from entertainment and shopping to online learning and staying in touch with friends and relatives.”

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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 Programme 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 it took initial investment up to £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 was matched locally, which means the programme will benefit from an additional£45 million plus to invest in bringing superfast broadband to the area.

Most of the CDS programme will be Fibre to the cabinet (FTTC) technology, which 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.

In addition to the CDS programme, the private sector has rolled out fibre broadband to many communities across the region, mainly in urban areas. CDS is ultimately looking at providing 100 per cent faster broadband coverage across Devon and Somerset.

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

About BT

BT’s purpose is to use the power of communications to make a better world.It is one of the world’s leading providers of communications services and solutions, serving customers in more than 170 countries. Its principal activities include the provision of networked IT services globally; local, national and international telecommunications services to its customers for use at home, at work and on the move; broadband, TV and internet products and services; and converged fixed/mobile products and services. BT consists principally of five customer-facing lines of business: BT Global Services, BT Business, BT Consumer, BT Wholesale and Openreach.

For the year ended 31 March 2015, BT Group’s reported revenue was £17,979mwith reported profit before taxation of £2,645m.

British Telecommunications plc (BT) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of BT Group plc and encompasses virtually all businesses and assets of the BT Group. BT Group plc is listed on stock exchanges in London and New York.

For more information, visit www.btplc.com.