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The Connecting Devon and Somerset (CDS) programme has congratulated Wessex Internet for being named among the best rural businesses in the UK.

The specialist rural internet provider has been shortlisted for the Best Rural Innovation award in the regional Rural Business Award.

The Dorset based company is currently contracted with CDS to deliver full fibre broadband to more than 3,600 homes and businesses in South Somerset over the next three years.

The company employs over 100 people and connects full fibre broadband to thousands of people in hard-to-reach areas across Dorset, Somerset, Wiltshire and Hampshire.

Wessex Internet will battle it out against fellow rural businesses, entrepreneurs, and enterprises from across the region for a place at the national final. The regional final will be held virtually in October 2021, with the national final taking place in early 2022.

Hector Gibson Fleming, Wessex Internet Managing Director, said: “We’re honoured to be recognised in this category; it really makes all the hard work that the team has undertaken worth it. The challenges we face when connecting rural areas mean that we are constantly innovating to bring full fibre to people who have been overlooked. It’s great to share the platform with so many fantastic rural businesses, too.”

Councillor David Hall, CDS Board Member and Somerset County Council Cabinet Member for Economic Development, Planning and Community Infrastructure, said: “Congratulations to Wessex Internet for this nomination in the prestigious Rural Business Awards; it’s well-deserved and it’s acknowledgement of the company’s innovation. They’ve made a great start with their work on behalf of CDS and they’re an extremely impressive local business helping rural communities. We wish Wessex Internet the best of luck at the regional awards.”

The Rural Business Awards 2021/2022, in partnership with Amazon, will mark the Awards’ seventh year of celebrating the success of businesses across the UK’s rural economy. The Awards aim to celebrate the achievements of rural businesses and develop a strong network for business owners.

Director and Co-Founder of The Rural Business Awards, Jemma Clifford, added: “We are excited to celebrate the 2021/2022 awards after such a challenging year for businesses. We are passionate about creating a nurturing environment where rural businesses can develop, and this starts by showcasing the great work they do. On behalf of everyone at the Rural Business Awards, we want to say well done to Wessex Internet and wish them luck ahead of the regional finals.”