Devon and Somerset councils would appear to be ahead of the curve in terms of getting the ball rolling on its plan to bring 'faster broadband for all by 2015, and superfast for all by 2020'.
"Devon and Somerset county councils are well ahead of the game in preparations to ensure at least 85 per cent of rural Devon has access to superfast broadband. We will be one of the first three areas in the country to implement the roll-out process. We are also well advanced with our procurement and are working in partnership with the Government to establish a national framework for suppliers."Councillor Will Mumford, Devon County Council's cabinet member for the economy
The Connecting Devon and Somerset website already has added details of a Ka band option for 1,000 homes and businesses in the most rural parts of the counties, complete with map showing the areas where is an option in addition to the current ADSL services in the areas. The project is to start accepting tenders from April 2012, with an aim of appointing a partner to implement the services in Autumn 2012. By being one of the first bodies to hit this point, hopefully the area will avoid shortages of telecoms staff to implement the actual services.
The goal is to have some 85% of premises with access to a superfast solution (25 Mbps or faster) by 2015, and something like 50% take-up of the service where available. The subsequent five years to 2020 will then see this figure increasing as technologies and money make it possible. Based on what information they have gleamed from commercial operators some 62% of properties will meet the 2015 superfast target from pure commercial roll-outs.
There is some £50 million available to meet the superfast and USC goals, which will be focused on 13,000 businesses and 300,000 homes that are outside the expected commercial footprints. £30 million was allocated by the BDUK, with the remainder raised by the councils, and one would expect funds to be added by bidders to increase the amount available to each property.