NEXT GENERATION BROADBAND
The Somerset Guardian, 25th November 2020
Recently, the Head of External Affairs for Devon County Council, Peter Doyle, who is overseeing Connecting Devon and Somerset (CDS), wrote to me with an update and highlights from the local broadband programme.
Connecting Devon and Somerset was established to deliver 'next generation broadband infrastructure' to areas where the market has decided not to invest. It is a local government-led collaboration that takes the strengths of each sector, implementing an economical plan to deliver superfast broadband to the South West.
In his e-mail, Mr. Doyle announced that CDS has delivered broadband connectivity to more homes and businesses than any English programme, according to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. It is finalising a £38million procurement, backed by Government funding, to provide gigabit capable broadband to tens of thousands of additional homes and businesses.
Moreover, CDS has launched a Fibre Extension Programme to deliver new or upgraded full fibre connexions to over 8,000 homes and businesses, with almost 5,700 Gigabit Broadband vouchers having been issued in the region, worth over £7.2 million. Finally, CDS-funded broadband take-up is now nearly 70% compared to a national average of 61.4%.
Since the rollout of high-speed broadband, the South West has lagged behind much of the rest of the country, which is why I am delighted by the statistics sent to me by Mr. Doyle. The CDS, in conjunction with support from the Government, continues its excellent work, providing North East Somerset with a much-needed additional broadband connexion possibilities for those who have otherwise been inaccessible. Crucially, this helps to create a level playing field in the business sector.
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