FRIDAY, APRIL 8TH 2016 BY PHIL WILKINSON-JONES
Fibre-based broadband has been made available to thousands more homes and businesses in Exmoor National Park.
About 3,700 premises can now access superfast speeds thanks to the Connecting Devon and Somerset (CDS) programme.
The latest communities to benefit include Dulverton, Porlock, Wheddon Cross, Timberscombe, Exford, Winsford, Wootton Courtenay and Withypool.
The rollout reached Bampton and Dunster early last year. Lynton and Brayford are due to be included later this year.
Frances Nicholson, Somerset county councillor for Dulverton and Exmoor, said: “I’m delighted that more communities on Exmoor now have the opportunity to access superfast broadband as a result of the Connecting Devon and Somerset programme.
“The ability to access high quality communications infrastructure is critical to businesses, critical for young people’s education, and an important part of improving quality of life for everyone.
“Phase one of the CDS rollout has successfully brought connectivity to much of Exmoor, and we look forward to more connections in phase two.”
Paul Coles, BT south west regional manager, added: “The rollout of high-speed fibre broadband represents a major investment on Exmoor and the surrounding areas.
“It will provide a vital boost for local households and businesses because whatever you do online you can do it better with fibre broadband.”
CDS said it is on course to meet its target of around 90% superfast broadband coverage by the end of 2016.
‘Next big step’
The programme has provided more than 280,000 households and businesses in Devon and Somerset with access to fibre-based broadband, of which about 228,000 are able to access superfast broadband speeds in excess of 24Mbps.
The second phase of the CDS programme will take fast broadband to parts of Exmoor and Dartmoor using a new wireless network.
Airband will connect 5,800 homes and businesses across the two parks using its fixed wireless technology.
Announcing the partnership with Airband in July 2015, Devon councillor Andrew Leadbetter said: “We are delighted that Airband has been chosen to roll out superfast broadband across the Dartmoor and Exmoor National Parks.
“They were selected for their innovative approach to delivering broadband in remote areas.
“This contract announcement represents the next big step towards our aim of achieving 100% coverage across the region.”
Last June, CDS announced that it had rejected BT’s bid for a £35m contract for the second stage of the rollout amid concerns that the telecoms giant could not meet the target of 95% coverage by the end of 2017.
Original story can be found here: https://www.cable.co.uk/news/superfast-broadband-will-give-vital-boost-to-exmoor-communities-700001457/