Fast Start Event Marks Beginning of Detailed Survey Work Across the Region

2Z7A9889Connecting Devon and Somerset has held an event at Dartington Hall to mark the start of detailed survey work for the programme. The event was attended by planning, highways and traffic management representatives as well as key officers and members from partner authorities.

Comprehensive survey work is an essential first step in the infrastructure roll-out and a vital but complex stage in programme phase planning. Engineers will be looking to use existing infrastructure wherever possible. Survey work will help highlight any issues and opportunities early, ensuring efficient deployment and keeping disruption to a minimum. It will also help identify locations for new cabinets whose placement has to abide by various planning laws and regulations.

BT will connect Devon and Somerset to the existing national fibre infrastructure using ‘Fibre Spines’. This will involve the installation of around 1,500 new green street cabinets, each housing sophisticated fibre technology. The volume of work across the entire geography of Devon and Somerset will require meticulous planning with special consideration given in areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and National Parks. This presents a significant challenge to all stakeholders involved, not just BT engineers, and will require close collaboration and a coordinated approach across all partner authorities and stakeholders; especially Highways and Planning Officers.

The Fast Start event marks the start of this coordinated approach – members of the Connecting Devon and Somerset team, including BT, explaining to key Local Authority officers and stakeholders the programme’s next steps, key challenges and expectations.

Councillor David Hall, Deputy Leader of Somerset County Council said: “Connecting Devon and Somerset has reached an important milestone. Until now the programme team has been working hard to secure the best value for money deal for our residents and businesses alike. This new phase will be equally demanding. The survey work is complex but vital if we are to have a sustainable and future-proof broadband network that breaks down the digital divide.”

Councillor John Hart, Leader of Devon County Council, said: “The programme will enable our rural areas to compete on a level playing field with our cities and larger towns and will help to transform our economy. It will enable our businesses to increase their competitiveness and open up new markets, create high tech jobs and attract new companies and investors to the area. With public services moving online and modern life becoming increasingly digitally orientated, our families and communities will also be able to benefit from becoming better connected.”

IMG_9717Jon Reynolds, BT South West regional director, said: “These are the first steps in an exciting, multi million pound programme, which will make a major contribution to the future prosperity of Devon and Somerset. We are working closely with our programme partners to bring high-speed fibre broadband to local communities as quickly and efficiently as possible.”

Communications Minister Ed Vaizey said: “The Connecting Devon and Somerset project is the biggest superfast broadband project in England and will deliver a huge boost to the local economy. Today’s launch event is a clear demonstration of how all the parties involved are working closely together to ensure the roll-out proceeds at pace whilst keeping any disruptions to a minimum.”

 

You can view or download the slides from here (to download go to “File – Download” when the page showing the slides loads).