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Airband engineer at Hartland Quay

Hartland Quay in Northern Devon is as remote as it is picturesque.

That’s part of its unique charm, but the fact that it is so secluded has made connectivity difficult – until now.

Connecting Devon and Somerset (CDS) and Airband are committed to delivering full fibre broadband to hard-to-reach locations in the region and it doesn’t come much more challenging than the stunningly rugged coastline at Hartland Quay.

Airband’s teams have deployed over 22km (13 miles) of fibre in the surrounding area, with a further 1.5km ensuring that Hartland Quay is connected with ultrafast broadband.

Donal Stafford, who manages the popular Hartland Quay Hotel with his wife Sarah, has welcomed the rollout and says that full fibre connectivity will offer huge benefits to the business and their guests.

He said: “Having a full fibre solution delivered straight to the property from Airband will be great for us. We’re at the end of the line here, literally, from a connectivity perspective. We have a couple of incoming lines but the best we can get out of each router is probably about 6MB at the moment, which is not a lot and doesn’t go very far I’m afraid.

“We have looked into other solutions through our existing supplier and other suppliers. Unfortunately, costs can be quite prohibitive to put in dedicated leased lines and being at the bottom of a 300ft cliff means line of sight options aren’t available to us either.

“It’s really important that we have connectivity for our guests, and the systems we use now are all online, our accounting systems, our hotel management systems, so having fast, secure full fibre access will make our lives a lot easier in terms of managing the business. It’ll make a massive difference for us.”

Tony Watkins, Sales Team Leader at Airband, said: “We’re extending the fibre rollout from Hartland to Hartland Quay. It’s an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty so we have to be very sympathetic in how we work the programme through in order to get the fibre down to the Quay. It’s a challenge but it’s one that Airband has really enjoyed rising to, particularly as we’re a rural provider for internet services.

“Having higher speed connectivity is going to open more opportunities, not only for the business but for visitors as well so it’s a win-win all round. It’s a real honour to bring connectivity to communities such as Hartland and Hartland Quay itself.”

Councillor Rufus Gilbert, CDS Board Member and Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Economy and Skills, said: “Hartland Quay is a perfect example of the remote locations where Connecting Devon and Somerset (CDS) and Airband are delivering full fibre broadband. This rollout is playing a vital role in supporting local businesses by providing better broadband. This is exactly what ‘levelling-up’ should look like so that local businesses can achieve their full potential no matter how isolated they may be.”

Councillor Mike Rigby, CDS Board Member and Somerset County Council Lead Member for Transport and Digital, said: “Commercial deployments of full fibre broadband have missed out this idyllic location which is why CDS, working with Airband, is determined to go the extra mile. Delivering Gigabit capable full fibre broadband will make a huge difference to the businesses at Hartland Quay and it’s excellent to see that businesses are already looking forward to the benefits of faster broadband speeds.”

Karl Tucker, Chair of the Heart of the South West LEP, said: “Connecting rural communities and businesses is vital to providing inclusive growth for all, and ensuring everyone can benefit from, and play a role in, the region’s economic growth. It’s fantastic to see the direct benefit local business owners will gain from their improved connectivity, and we look forward to working with CDS to connect more areas across the region.”

CDS has delivered superfast access to more homes and businesses than any other broadband programme in England, with over 315,000 premises receiving access to superfast broadband as a direct result of investment by CDS. Airband has delivered broadband access to more than 22,400 homes on behalf of CDS.