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Airband progressing with fibre broadband rollout in Devon and Somerset

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Broadband provider Airband will be installing fibre broadband in a number of communities in Devon and Somerset in the coming weeks as part of the ongoing Connecting Devon and Somerset (CDS) broadband rollout.

Construction is getting underway this month (September) in parts of Devon including Ashley, Calverleigh, Frogwell, Hensleigh, Loxbeare, Lurley, Nomansland, Pennymoor, Puddington, Tiverton, and Withleigh.

Work is also due to start in Abbotskerswell and in the Dainton and Marldon area in October.

Survey teams from Airband will also continue examining sites in a number of areas in Devon and Somerset earmarked for coverage. This investigation work will enable them to confirm the build route and timescales for the installation of Gigabit capable fibre broadband.

Survey work is currently ongoing in Bridgetown, Buckfastleigh, Crabbers Cross, Dartington Hall, Diptford, Harbertonford, Mill Cross, Rattery, South Brent, and Staverton.

Surveys are also scheduled to be undertaken in Berry Pomeroy, Blagdon, Littlehempston and Totnes.

Airband has already provided superfast access to more than 18,700 homes and businesses across Devon and Somerset. An additional 6,230 premises in earmarked areas of North Devon, Torridge, West Devon and central Devon will be provided with access to full fibre by September 2022 under its pre-existing contracts with CDS, and survey work has been completed for the remainder of this network build.

Construction is underway in Abbotsham, Bideford, Croyde, Braunton, Bishop’s Tawton, Barnstaple, Bratton Fleming, Goodleigh, Molland, East Anstey, Meshaw, South Molton, Great Torrington, Langtree, Crapstone, Lewtrenchard, Lifton and Weare Gifford. It is also due to start later this month in Instow.

Network design is in the latter stages for Tavistock and also progressing well in Kings Nympton, Chulmleigh, Dolton, Halwill Junction, Hatherleigh, Northlew, Jacobstowe, North Tawton, Taw Green and St Giles on the Heath. Construction is currently on target to begin in these areas by next summer, subject to securing the necessary access permission from landowners.

Councillor Rufus Gilbert, CDS Board Member and our Cabinet Member for Economic Recovery and Skills, said:

“This latest rollout will bring ultrafast, full fibre broadband access to thousands of homes in Devon and Somerset and we welcome the work which Airband is getting underway in many areas of the region. We all know how important good connectivity is for homes and businesses and our programme is delivering broadband to some of the most hard to reach areas of the county.”

In Somerset, construction is starting in parts of Adsborough, Bathpool, Cheddon Fitzpaine, Monkton Heathfield, Staplegrove, and West Monkton.

Surveying is currently ongoing in Ash Priors, Bishops Lydeard, Cotford St Luke, phase 1 of Lydeard St Lawrence, Norton Fitzwarren, and Tolland, with construction due to start by the end of the year.

Surveys are also scheduled to be undertaken in Taunton and Neroche. Network design is also progressing well for areas of Bicknoller, Combe Florey, Elworthy, phase 2 of Lydeard St Lawrence, Sampford Brett, Spaxton, Stogumber, West Bagborough, and West Quantoxhead.

Councillor David Hall, CDS Board Member and Somerset County Council Cabinet Member for Economic Development, Planning and Community Infrastructure, said:

“It’s great to see Airband starting its construction work on the next phase of our programme so that more communities and businesses can gain access to faster broadband speeds. Gigabit capable fibre broadband is essential for our businesses and communities, and we’re committed to ensuring that rural areas in Somerset and Devon are not left behind.”

Redmond Peel, Director of Airband, comments:

“At Airband, we passionately believe that rural communities should have access to the same level of high-quality connectivity, and therefore opportunities, as those in urban areas. This is a huge step towards closing the digital divide and delivering industry leading connectivity to those who need it most.”

Karl Tucker, chair of the Heart of the South West LEP, said:

“It is vitally important that this work is getting underway across a number of communities in Devon and Somerset, as part of the ongoing Connecting Devon and Somerset broadband programme. This rollout, which is supported with funding from the HotSW LEP’s Growth Deal, will provide much needed internet connectivity for residents and businesses in some of our most rural communities, which is essential to allow these areas to increase their economic productivity and output and for people to access many important services which are now only available online.”

CDS has delivered superfast access to more homes and businesses than any other broadband programme in England, with over 300,000 premises receiving access to superfast broadband as a direct result of investment by CDS.

The latest CDS full fibre programme contracts with Airband will extend its network to a further 40,150 premises, and when combined with connections by Truespeed and Wessex Internet, an additional 56,000 rural homes and businesses across Devon and Somerset will have access to full fibre broadband by the end of 2024.

The CDS broadband programme is being funded by the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Heart of the South West LEP, CDS local authorities, European Regional Development Fund and the Rural Development Programme for England.

For more information visit the Connecting Devon and Somerset website.