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​​Connecting Devon and Somerset gives rural areas a boost with faster broadband speeds

Press Release   •   Jan 08, 2016 17:06 GMT

Connecting Devon and Somerset gives rural areas a boost with faster broadband speeds

More than 1,600 households and businesses across Bampton, Uffculme and Culmstock can now access superfast broadband for the first time

MP Neil Parish today (Friday Jan 8) hailed the introduction of superfast broadband in Bampton, Culmstock and Uffculme. More than 1,600 households and businesses in the three communities can now benefit from improved speeds of up to 80Mbps, thanks to the Connecting Devon and Somerset (CDS) programme.

The MP for Tiverton and Honiton said: “I know that the roll-out of superfast broadband will have a positive effect on my constituents, regardless of whether they use it for work, school homework or general browsing. The introduction of superfast broadband to areas like Bampton, Culmstock and Uffculme is bringing more new businesses than ever to the area and I hope to continue seeing new faces. I am delighted that superfast broadband is being rolled out in some of the more rural areas of my constituency and Devon as a whole.”

With increasing pressures on urban areas and greater flexibility in the workplace, more businesses are able to move to rural areas and reap the benefits of home working. Relocation has become more practical across Devon and Somerset, as a result of the success in rolling out improved broadband technology to rural areas.

Theresa Pitts, event co-ordinator at Club Peloton, said: “I’ve recently moved to Culmstock from London, but the best part is I didn’t even have to change jobs. Our company arranges high profile charity bike rides so with a little help from superfast broadband, we can be more flexible with our location.

“I’ve never been too much of a city girl and with growth in the charity and creative sectors, this means that other people like myself can consider relocating. Quality of life is integral to work performance, and I can already feel myself changing up a gear.”

Another local resident is Andrew Limbert, director of a company called Patternbank. He said: “We run our online business with our partners in London; the only difference between the two operations is that we run our end from Devon. We sell the finest handcrafted textile designs from some of the best print designers in the world and create inspirational trend reports, so the internet is integral to what we do.

“Although our partners are in London, thanks to our superfast broadband, they now rely on us for reliable upload and download speeds! It’s incredible that we can wake up to the sound of the chickens and still stay ahead of the technology curve.”

Humphrey Berridge, who runs the Bampton.org.uk website, said: “Receiving faster broadband has made a huge difference to the town’s website. Our download speed is now five or six times quicker than it was originally. The arrival of the Connecting Devon and Somerset scheme also means that we can stay ahead with trends and upload video content onto Youtube. Uploading used to take five and a half hours per film, but now is superfast!”

Since the launch of CDS in 2013, more than 221,000 households and businesses can access superfast broadband for the first time. This year, CDS will continue to achieve the targets that have been set to rollout superfast broadband to about 90 percent of residents by the end of 2016.

Councillor Andrew Leadbetter, cabinet member for economy and growth for Devon County Council, said: “It’s great to see businesses choosing to move to the local area and appreciating our surroundings as much as we do. The addition of new businesses not only benefits the local economy, but also the local community as a whole.

“Connecting Devon and Somerset is doing a great job in implementing the necessary broadband infrastructure and if we continue to see levels of relocation, our local economy will continue to grow as a result, much to the benefit of everyone. However, we recognise that there is still more to do in other parts of Devon, so that they may also reap the same rewards”

Paul Coles, South West regional manager for BT, a major partner in the Connecting Devon and Somerset programme, said: “The arrival of high-speed fibre broadband in the communities of Bampton, Uffculme and Culmstock is another great example of Connecting Devon and Somerset providing a vital boost for rural communities. This exciting technology is transforming people’s lives, offering new learning, entertainment and business opportunities for local households and firms. Whatever you do online you can do it better with fibre broadband.”

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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.