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Truespeed selected as part of Connecting Devon and Somerset full fibre broadband project

Truespeed alongside two other companies has been selected to roll-out full fibre broadband networks on behalf of the Connecting Devon and Somerset (CDS) programme, backed by Government funding

Airband, Truespeed and Wessex Internet will be installing full fibre broadband across Devon and Somerset to more than 56,000 rural homes and businesses over the next four years

The combined public and private sector investment of around £80million will be in the vanguard of the Government’s ambitions to build a Gigabit capable network across the UK.

The three companies all have experience of working in the region and, between them, have already delivered connections to nearly 41,000 premises in the CDS region.

In the new roll-out, Airband will be expanding its full fibre coverage into rural areas of Somerset West and Taunton, parts of Sedgemoor, East Devon, as well as areas of Mid Devon, South Hams and Teignbridge.

Truespeed will be working in B&NES (Bath & North East Somerset), North Somerset, Mendip and part of Sedgemoor, while Wessex Internet will deliver in rural communities of South Somerset.

Work is due to start next year for completion in 2024. The initiative 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.

Evan Wienburg, Truespeed CEO, said: “We are delighted to have won these prestigious contracts with CDS to bring Gigabit-capable full fibre broadband to harder to reach communities in the south west. As a Somerset-based business focused on building out our own full fibre infrastructure to areas left behind by the industry giants, we are the natural partner for CDS. The requirement for full fibre broadband is essential as more people study and work from home. Many Truespeed customers are already benefiting from our ultra-reliable, ultra-fast broadband service and we will continue to work as hard and as fast as we can to accelerate our roll out.”

CDS has delivered connectivity to more homes and businesses than any other broadband programme in England.

Nearly one million homes and businesses in Devon and Somerset now have access to superfast broadband thanks to the Government supported CDS programme and stimulation of the commercial market which is an important element of CDS’s role. Of these, over 300,000 homes and businesses have access to superfast broadband as a direct result of public funding.

Councillor David Hall, CDS Board Member and Somerset County Council Cabinet Member for Economic Development, Planning and Community Infrastructure, said: “We’re pleased to confirm the appointment of three well-established, regionally-based suppliers to help with the challenge of delivering the next phase of the CDS programme. They have significant experience of delivering broadband connections in rural areas of Devon and Somerset, so they have an understanding of the remote areas where CDS is looking to improve connectivity. This investment will deliver full fibre broadband ahead of many other parts of the country.”

As part of its Fibre Extension Programme, CDS is currently funding fibre broadband connections to over 6,000 homes and businesses being delivered by Airband. Thanks to the high level of take-up of broadband services in the region from previous connectivity delivered by Openreach, CDS is also re-investing a £6 million dividend to extend full fibre coverage to over 2,000 premises, again working with Openreach, through the Government’s “Gainshare” agreement with the company.

CDS is also working closely with the Government’s Rural Gigabit Voucher programme to support communities who wish to contract with telecoms providers to design bespoke broadband solutions for their communities. To date, over 3,400 premises in Devon and Somerset have been connected to fibre through the Rural Gigabit Voucher Scheme, with another 2,800 vouchers approved for build over the next 12 months. This represents a voucher investment of nearly £7.4 Million in full fibre across the CDS region.

Investment from CDS can only take place in areas where there are no current or credible future plans to deliver Next Generation Access (NGA) broadband infrastructure capable of download speeds of at least 30Mbps.

The whole Connecting Devon and Somerset programme is expected to deliver an £800 million boost to the regional economy.

Minister for Digital Infrastructure, Matt Warman MP, said: “Today’s announcement marks a major step forward in our mission to build back better in the South West, with thousands of homes and businesses set to be linked up to lightning fast gigabit broadband thanks to an £18.4 million investment by the government. With Airband, Truespeed and Wessex Internet now on board I am confident we will deliver on our ambition for an infrastructure revolution in Devon and Somerset.”

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

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