Connecting Devon and Somerset
Aug 5, 2015
Twenty-first century broadband speeds reach Wookey Hole
The ambitious Connecting Devon and Somerset programme bringing broadband to rural homes and businesses has connected the historic underground caves of Wookey Hole to superfast broadband as well as making it available to 200 homes in Wookey Village.
The programme is making excellent progress to provide improved faster broadband to the ‘final third’ of premises, the majority in rural locations, unlikely to benefit from commercial broadband investment.
Wookey Village is one of the latest areas to benefit from the programme, which when combined with the plans of commercial providers, is set to make superfast speeds available to around 90 per cent of homes and businesses by the end of 2016.
In common with many other businesses taking-up superfast broadband across the region, Wookey Hole Caves anticipate lots of benefits to support them to improve their customer service, grow their business, and sustain local jobs.
Chris Goodchild, duty manager at Wookey Hole, said: “Superfast broadband will open-up many possibilities for our prehistoric caves, including our new £4 million show cave. These speeds are a necessity for any business these days, so we were very enthusiastic to connect as quickly as possible.
“We will improve customer experience by making our online purchase system quicker and detect any faults with our cave lighting or 4D cinema straight away. It will make our use of IT much more efficient, meaning fewer hours spent waiting for web pages to load and more time improving the attraction.
“Installing superfast wireless underground also means that customers can instantly engage with their friends and family via social media about their experiences, increasing the awareness of our caves to a potentially worldwide audience in moments.”
The programme has passed the halfway point. More than 800 cabinets are now connected to fibre broadband, and over 180,000 businesses and households across the programme area can now access fibre broadband.
Councillor David Hall, deputy leader of Somerset County Council, said: “Connecting Devon and Somerset is supporting businesses, like Wookey Hole, to drive our economic growth and create jobs. Faster speeds present new opportunities to communicate more effectively online, make better use of IT to become more efficient, and extend the number of customers that businesses can reach out to.
“Homes in Wookey Village can also connect. Families can access better connections to work from home, do homework, stream many devices at the same time, and connect with friends and relatives across the globe. Our programme is making excellent progress across the region to deliver our first target of superfast speeds to around 90 per cent of homes and businesses.”
James Heappey, MP for Wells, said: “It is great news that another village has been connected to superfast broadband and I hope that local residents will take advantage by contacting their internet service provider. Superfast connectivity is absolutely essential to residents and businesses alike and I will continue to work with BT and the Connecting Devon and Somerset project team to get our area the connections we so desperately need.”
Harvey Siggs, leader of Mendip District Council, said: “Wookey Hole is an important attraction for us and has helped put the Mendip area on the map. For us to be able to say that Wookey Village has full superfast coverage is a real boon. This will give local people the opportunity to really make the most of the internet. It will help people with online shopping, learning, entertainment and paying household bills, and allow small businesses to function more effectively.”
Paul Coles, BT’s South West regional manager, said: “Wookey Hole is a popular tourist destination for visitors to the area so plays an important role in supporting the local economy. Having a superfast connection will provide a massive boost to their business by enabling them to better exploit the new digital market place. For example, it can enable them to provide a more streamlined experience for visitors and guests with services like wi-fi, cashless transactions and automated check-in or attracting new customers with an increased web presence and other powerful online marketing tools.”
Our website – www.connectingdevonandsomerset.co.uk – provides the latest details on our superfast broadband rollout programme.
Latest exchange areas to ‘go live’ with superfast broadband are:
Somerset - Somerton, North Petherton, Ilchester, Ashcott, Cheddar, Castle Cary, Evercreech, Axbridge, Bruton, Corton Denham, Brean Down, Long Sutton, Temple Cloud and Timsbury.
Devon - South Brent, Colyton, Lifton, Buckfastleigh, Cheriton Bishop, East Allington and Exborne.
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.
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.
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.
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.