£6m boost for broadband in Devon and Somerset

Openreach's ultrafast infrastructure to be built to 2,000 more premises in partnership with Connecting Devon and Somerset

Openreach and Connecting Devon and Somerset (CDS) have today announced that Openreach will bring its ultra-fast, ultra-reliable full fibre broadband infrastructure to more than 2,000 premises as part of CDS’s new Fibre Extension Programme.

CDS is re-investing £6 million in “gainshare” funding – a share of monies generated through high take-up of broadband services in the region from previous connectivity delivered by Openreach - to extend full fibre coverage in particularly hard to reach hamlets and villages and deprived rural areas in Devon and Somerset

Survey teams working for Openreach have now started to identify the best routes for these new fibre connections and this work will help shape the design of the local networks and ensure roll-out can happen as rapidly as possible.

Matthew Bateman, Director of Infrastructure Development, Openreach
“Good connectivity breathes new life and opportunities into remote communities – and we look forward to connecting even more of them.”
Matthew Bateman, Director of Infrastructure Development, Openreach

Initial survey work has begun in Oakford, near Bampton and survey teams will continue their work across a broader cluster to the north of Tiverton and south of Dulverton, spanning the Devon and Somerset border. A second cluster to the east of Plymouth will be centred on Bickleigh, Wotter and Shaugh Prior. Once this survey work is completed, more precise details on which premises will be connected can be announced and a programme of engineering works will begin.

Additional communities set to benefit from new fibre connections delivered by Openreach for CDS will follow over the next two years. The areas included for survey are around:

  • Blue Anchor
  • Brayford and North Molton
  • Brompton Ralph
  • Exe Valley
  • Haccombe, Rocombe and the Teign Estuary
  • Lane End
  • Satterleigh and Warkleigh
  • South Kentisbury Ford
  • South Zeal and Throwleigh
  • Teign Valley
  • Twitchen
  • Watermouth
  • Widecombe Parish
  • Yettington

Surveying will be carried out in compliance with Government social distancing rules and survey workers will not require entry to homes or businesses to carry out their duties. 

Matthew Bateman, Director of Infrastructure Development for Openreach, said: “It’s great news that thousands of people in Devon and Somerset will soon have access to our ultrafast, ultra-reliable full fibre network through our agreement with Connecting Devon and Somerset.

“This is in addition to the thousands of homes and businesses we’re connecting in the South West through Community Fibre Partnerships, our Fibre Cities programme in Exeter, Torquay and Bristol and the seven rural exchanges we announced as part of our commercial build earlier this year.

“Recent economic research shows that full fibre infrastructure has the ability to turbo-charge the UK’s economy post-COVID-19 and this Gainshare funding will put more of the region’s hardest-to-reach households at the forefront of the shift to a full fibre digital network.

“Good connectivity breathes new life and opportunities into remote communities – and we look forward to connecting even more of them.”

Councillor Rufus Gilbert, CDS Board Member and Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Economy and Skills, said: “This funding collaboration with Openreach is enabling us to provide more communities with access to reliable, ultrafast broadband. With unprecedented numbers of people now working from home and keeping in touch via the internet, we’re fully aware of the important role the local broadband network is playing – and this investment will be a great addition to that.”

Anne Marie Morris, MP for Newton Abbot, said: “I’m delighted to see this small but welcome step and a commitment to accelerate broadband roll-out in 2020-2021.”

Sir Gary Streeter, MP for South West Devon, said: “I welcome the news that CDS has launched its Fibre Extension Programme to connect the most remote parts of Devon and Somerset to fibre broadband. CDS will be at the forefront of delivering the Government’s commitment to ensure every home has access to full fibre broadband by 2025. This is the most important way the far South West can gain connectivity with the rest of the UK and is vital to ensure our local economy can grow and flourish.”

For more information on CDS go to https://www.connectingdevonandsomerset.co.uk/

Customers can check availability of fibre broadband or register their interest at www.openreach.co.uk.