'Connecting Devon and Somerset', an entity in charge of improving broadband in the two aforementioned counties, has stated that superfast broadband will be available to nearly 45,000 homes and businesses by next March. The scheme to improve connection in the West of England is part of a wider £94 million project which aims to improve rural internet services across the country.
The programme is being carried out alongside commercial efforts, aiming to upgrade the internet speed of 90 per cent of homes and businesses to 24Mbps by the end of 2016. On top of this, it hopes to ensure that the minimum speed at all times is at least 2Mbps. Connecting Devon and Somerset has also said it is actively lobbying for increased funding to further extend its effects.
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The partnership working on the project includes numerous county councils, BT and the Government's Superfast Britain programme. In Devon and Somerset, 31 communities are set to be upgraded, including seven towns and villages and a number of smaller parish areas. A map has been published on the Connecting Devon and Somerset website, showing live updates as each part of the rollout progresses at a postcode level.
"Changing how we live and work"
The Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries, Ed Vaizey, said that the news was "fantastic for the residents of Devon and Somerset," and added "the UK already does more business online than any other European country and widespread access to superfast speeds would provide a welcome boost to the local economy".
Laurent Boon, programme manager for Connecting Devon and Somerset, said: "The arrival of fibre broadband is one of the most important investments in Devon and Somerset in recent times, fibre broadband is changing the way we live and work.
"For businesses it can help deliver a competitive edge which will help the attract new customers and find new, more efficient ways of working."