Local councils plan to have 91 percent superfast connectivity by 2016
Connecting Devon and Somerset, the organisation responsible for rolling out superfast broadband in parts of Southern England, has announced it will connect another 31 local communities to BT’s fibre network by March 2014.
This puts the total number of premises in the area that will be able to access fibre broadband by next summer at 44,000.
“The news that 44,000 homes and businesses will have access to superfast speeds by March 2014 is fantastic news for the residents of Devon and Somerset. The UK already does more business online than any other European country and widespread access to superfast speeds will provide a welcome boost to the local economy,” said Ed Vaizey, Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries.
Connecting Devon and Somerset is a partnership between the local authorities of Devon, Torbay, Plymouth, Somerset, North East Somerset, North Somerset and Bath. It was created to ensure superfast broadband roll-out reaches areas that would otherwise see no investment.
The initiative is funded by Central Government (£32m) and Devon and Somerset Councils (£21m), with a £42 million matched investment by BT. It aims to offer speeds over 24 Mbps to at least 91 percent of premises by the end of 2016, with slower connections available to every resident.
Connecting Devon and Somerset previously announced it will bring fibre-to-the-cabinet infrastructure to seven towns and villages, with parts of Holsworthy, Bradford-on-Tone and Sticklepath already online, and Moretonhampstead, Bishops Lydeard, Monkton Heathfield and Creech St Michael expected to be upgraded by the end of the month.
New areas to be connected in the next four months include Bishop’s Hull, Bridford, Chilton Trinity, Christow, Combe Florey, Comeytrowe, Corfe, Cotford St. Luke, Crediton, Dunchideock, Exminster, Hatherleigh, Hemyock, Newton St Cyres, North Tawton, Nynehead, Okehampton, Okehampton Hamlets, Petrockstow, Ruishton, Sampford Arundel, Sandford, Shillingford St George, Shobrooke, South Tawton, Stoke St Gregory, Thurloxton, Trull, Wembdon, West Buckland and West Monkton.
“We are all aware that good connectivity is vital for our rural economy. Our businesses can now begin to take advantage of the opportunities improved broadband will bring in new markets, trading potential and productivity. To be able to make this major step forward is terrific news,” commented Councillor Andrew Leadbetter, cabinet member for Economy and Growth at the Devon County Council.
Meanwhile, BT Openreach CEO Liv Garfield, who just recently complained about the constant criticism of the Broadband Delivery UK initiative, announced she will leave the company to head another utility giant, Severn Trent.
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