#General Tech

High-speed broadband to reach 70,000 Devon, Somerset homes by July end says BT

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More than 70,000 Devon and Somerset premises will get high-speed broadband access by the end of July, announced BT.

The Connecting Devon and Somerset (CDS) project worth £94m is going well, with 19 upgraded exchanges upgraded and seven are due to ‘go live’ by March end.

Braunton, Kingskerswell, Pinhoe, Sowton, Swimbridge, Spaxton, Topsham and North Petherton are The latest exchange areas to get benefited from the project.

While some of these broadband exchanges are located in urban areas, they will cover rural areas and many small villages, thereby benefiting those living in nearby rural areas.

The announcement comes on the first anniversary of the programme’s partnership with BT.

CDS also have plans to extend fibre broadband coverage, build on the technology already available through the private sector’s commercial roll-out, to areas including Ilminster and Newton Abbot.

BT said that the CDS project aims to make high-speed broadband speeds of 24Mbps available to at least 90 percent of all residents in the county by 2016.

Deputy leader of Somerset County Council, Councillor David Hall, said “We are delighted with the progress that has been made so far but clearly the severe flooding in Somerset is posing challenges for the engineering teams who are rolling out the new network.”

“Connecting Devon and Somerset is working very effectively to deal with these and ensure the roll-out continues at a fast pace. For example, where the flooding is particularly serious we will switch some work to less severely affected areas until the waters subside.”

BT’s programme manager for CDS, Laurent Boon, said “Despite the difficult weather, the partnership has achieved strong progress and is already bringing great benefits to rural communities.”

“On the first anniversary since the partnership’s contract signing, we have made fibre broadband available to more than 16,000 premises and put in place clear plans to reach 70,000 by early Summer. This is a major boost for our households and businesses in rural areas.”