Around 31 towns and villages in Devon and Somerset are to get superfast broadband as part of a £94 million project to bring fibre to rural areas.
By the end of March 2014, fibre broadband will be available to these communities, extending the number of homes and businesses that are able to benefit from the programme to 44,000.
Connecting Devon and Somerset, the organisation behind the project said that the extension comes as a result of careful detailed survey work undertaken over the past six months critical in determining the roll-out plan.
The 31 communities included in the rollout join seven towns and villages already announced. Parts of Holsworthy, Bradford-on-Tone and Sticklepath have already gone live, whilst Moretonhampstead, Bishops Lydeard, Monkton Heathfield and Creech St Michael will be upgraded by the end of the month.
The 31 parish areas where superfast broadband will go live by the end of March 2014 as part of the Connecting Devon and Somerset programme are: Bishop’s Hull, Bridford, Chilton Trinity, Christow, Combe Florey, Comeytrowe, Corfe, Cotford St. Luke, Crediton, Dunchideock, Exminster, Hatherleigh, Hemyock, Newton St. Cyres, North Tawton, Nynehead, Okehampton, Okehampton Hamlets, Petrockstow, Ruishton, Sampford Arundel, Sandford, Shillingford St. George, Shobrooke, South Tawton, Stoke St. Gregory, Thurloxton, Trull, Wembdon, West Buckland and West Monkton.
Alongside private sector commercial roll-outs, the Connecting Devon and Somerset programme aims to make superfast broadband speeds of 24Mbps and above available to around 90 per cent of homes and businesses by the end of 2016.
It also plans to ensure a minimum of 2Mbps for all premises within the programme area. The organisation said it was actively lobbying for more funding to further extend the availability of superfast broadband.
The programme has also published a new map on the Connecting Devon and Somerset website. This rollout map, which will be added to as more locations come on stream, shows the final locations for this phase at a detailed postcode level. Residents and businesses will be able to see where this part of the rollout will reach.
Councillor David Hall, Deputy Leader of Somerset County Council, said: “This tremendous step forward is a pay off for all the careful planning that goes on behind the scenes. The team has been working flat out to get to this stage. I look forward to the economic growth and development that access to high speed fibre broadband will bring.”
Councillor Andrew Leadbetter, Cabinet Member for Economy and Growth for Devon County Council, said: “Our businesses can now begin to take advantage of the opportunities improved broadband will bring in new markets, trading potential and productivity.”
Image: Geograph/Nick Chipchase/Creative Commons