Government hails success of CDS Broadband Voucher Scheme

The Connecting Devon and Somerset (CDS) Broadband Voucher Scheme is shaping up to be one of the most successful in the country, according to BDUK

Residents and businesses in Devon and Somerset have seen a boost to their broadband – and their profits – thanks to the Connecting Devon and Somerset (CDS) Broadband Voucher Scheme operating in the country.

More than 1600 applications have been made to the CDS voucher scheme and 1100 of these have been approved. Over 100 installations have also been carried out as part of the scheme using a range of broadband technologies, such as, satellite, 4G and fixed wireless solutions.

One of the early beneficiaries of the voucher scheme Holly Woodford, of Ideford, Devon, said: “Fixed wireless has transformed our day to day lives. I work at home and the difference it makes is exponential. Thanks to Connecting Devon and Somerset for helping to make this happen.”

The CDS voucher scheme offers Devon and Somerset residents and businesses, with broadband speeds below 2Mbps, a £500 subsidy towards a faster broadband connection of 10mbps. A wide range of technologies are on offer from the suppliers signed up to scheme so we can meet the challenges of connecting some of our remotest communities.

Jim Weir of Exmoor Technology, a supplier on the CDS Voucher Scheme, commented: “The CDS voucher scheme is one of the best in the country as it permits more suppliers to easily join and deliver a variety of services, offering the best solution for every property.

“The rapid uptake of vouchers since the start of the programme and the increased numbers of providers wanting to be involved is testament to the hard work the CDS team has put into the scheme, and residents in Devon and Somerset are already seeing the results.”

Chris, of Cucklington, Somerset, recently received an installation from Wessex Internet, commenting: ““The voucher was easy to apply for and was granted within 24 hours. The net result is that I have now moved from around 1-2 Mbps to 50Mbps. I have also been able to switch from landline telecoms completely having installed an internet phone. The icing on the cake is that for a far superior service I have actually halved my monthly outgoings.”

Luke Skipsey of Wessex internet, said: “I’m delighted that CDS has been able to create such a successful scheme and we’ve been able to get involved in it delivering fast broadband via our wireless technology to customers like Chris as well as communities who are working for group solutions. The end users can benefit from innovative broadband results with no setup costs and will compliment phase two delivery to more of these rural areas.”

CDS board member Cllr Andrew Leadbetter, said: “We have long recognised that connectivity between Devon and Somerset and the wider world is of paramount importance to our economic future. The success of the scheme highlights developments within the industry that present innovative and exciting opportunities in the delivery of broadband services.”

“Though there are other households and businesses out there on slow speeds who we need to encourage to make use of this opportunity and apply for the voucher scheme to get connected.”

The news surrounding the voucher scheme follows the launch of the second phase of the superfast broadband scheme, which will see a £39.5m public sector investment in the delivery of Next Generation Access broadband services (a minimum of 30 Mbps), and ultrafast broadband (of speeds greater than 100 Mbps) to tens of thousands of homes and businesses across Devon and Somerset that were not connected under phase 1.

Following the launch of the phase 2 procurement, CDS held an extremely well-attended bidder day for potential suppliers.

Cllr David Hall commented: “The supplier event really showed the interest CDS has generated in the next phase of delivery and residents across my patch, and the wider CDS area should be encouraged by the potential solutions being offered, and the structures put in place to connect as many of them as possible.”

CDS expects to be in a position to sign a contract(s) with a supplier(s) to deliver phase 2 by the end of this year.

Applications for the voucher scheme can be made at the CDS website at https://www.connectingdevonandsomerset.co.uk/cds-broadband-voucher-scheme/ Applications must be made before the 30th of November 2016 to ensure connections and invoicing can be processed ahead of the end of the financial year 16/17. Any suppliers who wish to come on board with the scheme should get in touch with broadbandvoucher-mailbox@devon.gov.uk

get-up-to-speed Get Up Speed