• CDS has delivered superfast connections to over 315,000 homes and businesses in Devon and Somerset.
• Airband and Openreach teams are working in dozens of communities across Somerset under contract to CDS to connect thousands of additional homes and businesses.
• Hundreds of homes and businesses in Devon and Somerset have benefited from the CDS Mobile Boost Scheme funded by the Heart of the South West LEP.
• Over 3,000 additional homes and businesses in Somerset now have gigabit-capable connections or are in the process of being connected through the Gigabit Voucher scheme.
• Storm disruption: Contractors worked late into the evening over the weekend reconnecting homes and businesses. Many are now reconnected, but the recovery work is ongoing. Overhead cabling work had to be halted and planned road closures postponed until safe to resume.
Work on the Dulverton cluster has already resulted in two structures recently completing and in the “Test and Commissioning” phase, meaning that residents in Winsford will be able to order a service by the end of this month, February.
Airband’s network build is progressing well to the north of Taunton and cabinets have been deployed and powered up to serve Staplegrove, Bathpool, West Monkton, Adsborough, Upper Cheddon, Priorswood and Monkton Heathfield.
Airband have been working hard with Somerset County Council to balance the timely deployment of the network whilst minimising the disruption to traffic in these areas. Phasing of these roadworks has been crucial to achieve this and although this has delayed the work, Airband hope to provide live connections in these areas by April.
Openreach are now in substantial build in villages in-and-around Dulverton, including Bridgetown, Exton, Winsford, Exebridge, Brushford and Bury.
Airband have teams working to prove the existing ducting from Norton Fitzwarren to Bishops Lydeard and beyond to Ash Priors, Fitzhead and Tolland. The teams will leave a draw rope in the ducts as they go, thus enabling the cabling team to deploy the fibre afterwards with minimal
After this, they will be progressing further north and west to Lydeard St Lawrence, Stogumber, West Bagborough, Combe Florey, Elworthy, West Quantoxhead, Sampford Brett and Spaxton, Crowcombe, and Bicknoller – areas where surveys have recently been completed.
Openreach have completed their design and surveys for Chapel Cleeve on the West Somerset coast and are scheduling the works required to move this community into build.
Airband plans are currently being finalised for the centre of Taunton and the areas south as far as West Buckland.
Their design teams are underway with plans for the villages to the east of Taunton, including Stoke St Mary, Henlade, Pitminster, Staple Fitzpaine and Hatch Beauchamp. Survey teams will shortly be heading out to these areas to assess what existing infrastructure can be used and advise the planners with their findings.
Airband’s website now includes a list of the community areas covered by the new contracts, the anticipated completion dates and a map of the coverage areas. Airband have enhanced their online premise level checker for communities covered by all CDS contracts, new and pre-existing,
allowing for detailed checks.
Openreach have submitted their designs for the Brompton Ralph cluster, covering Pitsford Hill, Tarr, Sticklepath and parts of the hinterland north of Wiveliscombe.
Mobile Boost Scheme
Businesses and households across Devon and Somerset have benefited from improved indoor mobile coverage thanks to the Mobile Boost Scheme, an initiative funded through the Heart of the Southwest Local Enterprise Partnership’s (LEP) Growth Deal. The Mobile Boost Scheme offers vouchers of up to £1200 towards the cost and installation of mobile signal boosters to upgrade indoor 4G coverage in “not-spot” areas, improving the quality of mobile phone calls and connectivity. Beneficiaries are required to contribute to the cost and installation of equipment, the amount varies depending on the type of equipment adopted.
The LEP set a target of 400 installations by 31 January 2022 and the scheme has proved popular with 427 Mobile Signal Boosters having been installed to date. The scheme remains open and businesses and residents in Somerset, Devon, Torbay and Plymouth are invited to apply.
Applications for the scheme are made through the Connecting Devon and Somerset website. Once a voucher code has been issued the beneficiary contacts a supplier from the approved supplier list on the website. Suppliers then work with the beneficiary to discuss the best technology option for their premises and carry out the installation of the equipment. More information and a link to the application form can be found on the Connecting Devon and Somerset website.
In parallel with our broadband contracts and other initiatives, CDS works closely with Building Digital UK (BDUK) to expand take-up of the Government’s Rural Gigabit Voucher programme.
CDS offers support to communities who wish to contract with telecoms providers to design and shape bespoke broadband solutions for their areas. CDS can provide additional financial support where appropriate through its Community Challenge Programme to help bridge any local funding gaps.
To date, vouchers to the value of £5.2 million have been issued in Somerset and 3,351 additional homes and businesses now have gigabit-capable broadband or are in the process of being connected.
• CDS has delivered connectivity to more homes and businesses than any other broadband
programme in England. Source: DCMS.
• CDS is one of the most cost-effective programmes in England with costs per premise in the
lowest quartile nationally. Source: BDUK.
• Take-up of CDS funded broadband services is nearly 70% compared with a national average of 61.4%. Source: BDUK.
Connecting Devon and Somerset: Matt Barrow, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.connectingdevonandsomerset.co.uk