Three providers to deliver FTTP in new Devon and Somerset contracts
The roll-out of FTTP to 56,000 rural homes and businesses across Devon and Somerset will not happen overnight, but with contracts signed amounting to £80 million of public and private sector funding there will hopefully be a steady roll-out between now and the end of 2024.
Three companies selected are:
- Airband, who have previously built some superfast fixed wireless infrastructure in the area and some FTTP, they will concentrate on rural areas of Somerset West and Taunton, parts of Sedgemoor, East Devon, as well as areas of Mid Devon, South Hams and Teignbridge.
- Truespeed who has been building FTTP in the region including Wells will deliver in Bath & North East Somerset, North Somerset, Mendip and part of Sedgemoor.
- Wessex Internet will be building in rural communities of South Somerset
The three firms are said to have a footprint of 41,000 premises in the region so should be well versed in terms of interaction with the local authorities around the issues of planning and road works.
56,000 premises sounds big, but the combined area of Devon and Somerset is actually 1.04 million premises, therefore this means an additional 5% added to the superfast and FTTP figures for the combined area.
Today’s announcement marks a major step forward in our mission to build back better in the South West, with thousands of homes and businesses set to be linked up to lightning-fast gigabit broadband thanks to an £18.4 million investment by the government. With Airband, Truespeed and Wessex Internet now on board I am confident we will deliver on our ambition for an infrastructure revolution in Devon and Somerset.Minister for Digital Infrastructure, Matt Warman MP
The old phase 1 BDUK contract with BT is still delivering through the gain share arrangement and there is commercial FTTP roll-outs in the more urban areas so we expect the Gigabit/FTTP coverage levels to increase already in the next year. The big unknown is exactly how much commercial FTTP will end up being built rather than promised. The level of commercial infrastructure is very important as otherwise there is the real risk Devon and Somerset in 2024 may remain behind many other parts of the UK in the race to 75% to 85% Gigabit coverage.
For those seeing decent speeds for the first time via these three new contracts it will of course be great news, but there is likely to be a good number of residential customers who while complaining about slow ADSL speeds cannot easily afford an extra £10 to £15 a month on their broadband bills. In the past under other contracts providers have introduced cheaper entry level tariffs in the £22 to £28/m region with speeds of around 30 Mbps. 30 Mbps is of course a lot better than ADSL and a solid connection using FTTP should actually be plenty for a single UHD TV stream.