Another “under-the-radar” purdah story bearing good news?

Preparations are well under way for the rollout of the full fibre network to provide superfast broadband across Devon. 

Daniel Clark Local Democracy Reporter

Around 56,000 additional homes and businesses will be provided with access to Gigabit capable broadband by internet providers Airband, Truespeed and Wessex Internet. 

This additional coverage adds to the broadband services already being delivered through public subsidy, and investments through suppliers stated commercial programmes, and raises superfast coverage to just under 96 per cent across the county, Devon County Council’s corporate infrastructure and regulatory services scrutiny committee on Thursday (March 25) heard. 

The new contracts awarded to Airband, Wessex Internet and Truespeed will serve an additional 56,396 homes and businesses who will benefit from an increase in full fibre coverage. 

To date nearly one million homes and businesses in Devon and Somerset now have access to superfast broadband, with over 300,000 of these having access to superfast broadband as a direct result of investment by the Connecting Devon and Somerset programme. 

Airband has already provided superfast access to 18,700 homes and businesses across Devon and Somerset and its latest full fibre programme will extend its network to a further 40,150 premises. 

As this critical work develops prior to construction, discussions have to be held with landowners and local councils to find the best and most cost-effective route for the new network. This requires securing landowner consent and access to highways. 

Cllr Rufus Gilbert, Devon County Council cabinet member for economy and skills, said: “Everyone is keen for construction to start at the first possible opportunity and CDS and the contracted internet providers are working closely to provide tens of thousands of homes and businesses with access to superfast broadband. 

“Unfortunately not every premise in the area can be included with the public funding available through the programme, but we will be delivering access to superfast broadband to some of the hardest to reach premises in the CDS region – providing an all-important boost to local communities and businesses.”