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Devon and Somerset signs broadband contract with BT
Thursday 31 January 2013 09:19:57 by Andrew Ferguson

Residents and businesses of Devon and Somerset that have so far missed out on superfast broadband from the usual candidates can now look to forward to the start of actual delivery of services via the BDUK project for the area. The signing on the 29th January at County Hall in Taunton, Somerset means survey work will start immediately and the first wave of upgrade locations should be announced during Spring 2013.

Signing ceremony at Somerset County Hall
Click image for larger version

The Connecting Devon and Somerset project has a total fund of £94 million with the aims of providing FTTC or FTTP based broadband to 90% of premises by the end of 2016 and a minimum of 2 Mbps to all other premises. BT is contributing £41 million, with each county council adding £10 million on top of the £32 million from the central BDUK fund.

"Breaking down the rural broadband divide will give our residents, communities and businesses opportunities that they’ve only been able to imagine up till now. Fast and reliable internet is becoming more important to daily life and going online will soon be the only way to access some key public services. Superfast and improved broadband will help us to strengthen our economy, grow and develop our businesses while enhancing community activities. This is an important milestone for all who live and work in our region."

Councillor David Hall, Deputy Leader of Somerset County

The roll-out follows the usual pattern of predominately being FTTC based, but there is the promise of some pure FTTP areas in addition Fibre on Demand being available in FTTC areas as of Spring 2013.

"This is a project of huge significance to businesses and local communities across Devon and Somerset. "Superfast Broadband will enable even our smallest businesses to compete on a level playing field with other companies nationally and internationally. That means Devon businesses can expand without having to relocate and benefit from improving productivity. It'll mean a big boost to our economy and the creation of new jobs as firms take advantage of their new-found competitiveness. And families in rural areas will be able to enjoy all the benefits of our digital age, such as downloading films and music, which have so far been denied them."

Councillor John Hart, Leader of Devon County Council

Readers with long memories may recall Bath and North East Somerset opting out of the BDUK process in 2011, but this council is now part of the Connecting Devon and Somerset project.


Posted by BB4FABS over 4 years ago
What happened to the Government's promise that 90% of the UK would get superfast broadband by May 2015?

In the two announcements today, Devon and Somerset give a target of "end of 2016" and South Gloucestershire and Wiltshire "March 2016".
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 4 years ago
The 90% will probably happen as counties like Surrey go for higher than 90% making up those who don't hit target in time.

But one that should be posed to the politicians once 2015 arrives.
Posted by ahockings over 4 years ago
I bet I'll be in the remaining 10%. Roll on 4G.
Even if I can get FTTC it'll only be about 5 Meg (5Km phone line)
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 4 years ago
@ahockings When you say 5km phone line, do you mean distance from home to exchange building, or distance to the green street cabinet
Posted by RuralDavid over 4 years ago
I expect to be in the final 10% too. 6.1km home to exchange (WWLODD), 2.5km home to street cab. In heavy rain, my connection drops to 160kbps. Wonder what they'd want for FTTP?
Posted by Somerset over 4 years ago
Note this also covers North Somerset.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 4 years ago
And Bath as I said in the article :-)
Posted by wluke over 4 years ago
This is great news, clearly. But I am massively sceptical about these rural areas actually witnessing any change.

There are hundreds of exchanges out in the darkest, remotest parts of the two counties. Some of the wiring (from exchange to village cabinets) was last touched in the Victorian era; a lot of it is underground, dug through farmers' fields. Are they really going to lay fibre from an exchange to various village cabinets, along fields and ducts and gulleys?

That's what they should do. I just can't see it happening. FTTC in the countryside seems uneconomical nowadays.
Posted by ccxo over 4 years ago
They will rollout FTTC to the majority of exchanges, if you look at north Yorkshire on the Openreach Superfast where and when map, at North Yorkshire you can see all the exchanges planned for BDUK in 2013/2014 that are very rural.
Posted by yellands over 4 years ago
Can't come soon enough for us. We are a business based in rural West Devon. Have to have two broadband lines due to reliability/speed issues. Max speed 0.5 Meg. Today one line is again awaiting Engineer's attention. 40+ repair calls to both in past few months. The other is operating at the blisteringly fast speed of 125kbps. Frustrating or what?
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