Residents and businesses in Devon and Somerset who are mainly outside the scope of the existing phase 1 contract that CDS has with BT are now able to apply for a voucher worth up to £500 to help get better broadband up and running with an approved supplier. It appears that those inside the phase 1 project area but still getting under 2 Mbps may be able to apply too.
Only those with speeds under 2 Mbps are eligible so the scheme is targeting the Universal Service Commitment but apparently all the solutions on offer guarantee a minimum 10 Mbps connection in the download direction at least. Taking a voucher now will not automatically exclude people from the phase 2 contract once a supplier has been arrived at.
The approved suppliers are AB Internet and airband who both offer a fixed wireless solution, Avonline Broadband and Satellite Technology who supply satellite broadband and finally TrueSpeed who are rolling out a FTTH network in North East Somerset around the Priston area.
The voucher scheme will run until March 2017 by which time we hope that a phase 2 superfast contract will have been signed for Devon and Somerset and everyone will have a better idea reached of who will be providing the service and how deep into the countryside it will reach, though from what we have heard it may not be one single contract but a number of smaller contracts covering different parts of the two counties.