Superfast Broadband Arrives in Minehead

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More than 5,500 businesses and households in Minehead and the surrounding area now have access to faster broadband, news welcomed by Ian Liddell-Grainger MP.

Fibre broadband has hit Minehead in a big way, with 89 per cent of premises connected to the exchange now able to order this new service. An event held at the Beach Hotel celebrating the arrival of superfast broadband in the town, where Ian Liddell-Grainger, MP for Bridgwater and West Somerset and Councillor David Hall, deputy leader of Somerset Council are talking about the benefits for businesses, along with local business owner and chairman of the Minehead Chamber of Commerce, Graham Sizer.

Currently, there are 23 cabinets live within the Minehead area, meaning that more than 5,500 premises can access the new fibre infrastructure – of these, nearly 5,400 can access superfast broadband speeds of above 24Mbps. A further four cabinets, three of which are currently being built, will be activated before the programme is complete.

Since 2013, the CDS programme has made fibre broadband available to more than 100,000 homes and businesses across the Devon and Somerset region. The programme aims to reach at least 90 per cent of homes and businesses across the two counties by the end of 2016.

Ian Liddell-Grainger, MP for Bridgwater and West Somerset, said: “The Connecting Devon and Somerset programme has been a triumph in supporting communities like Minehead; it underlines just how critical quality connectivity is for business and households in the modern age. This community has so much to offer for its residents and visitors alike and is now getting the communications infrastructure it deserves.

 “Superfast broadband is now available to more than 5,500 businesses and homes in Minehead with more to follow soon. It will hugely improve the lives of busy households, whether that be with online shopping, managing bills and banking, education, or social networking.”

This month, the government announced that public and private sector broadband partnerships have now made broadband speeds of 24Mbps and above available to two million households and businesses across the country.

Councillor David Hall said: “It’s wonderful that Somerset and Devon are leading the way when it comes to rolling out superfast broadband. From our dialogue with residents and businesses, it’s clear that this has a massive impact on the areas it benefits. We’re delighted for those in Minehead that are taking advantage and look forward to rolling out further areas in due course.

“Reaching this many people with fibre shows that we’re well on track to reach our goal of around 90 per cent superfast by the end of 2016 and with the further funding announced recently, Connecting Devon and Somerset is on target to reach the goal of 100 per cent superfast broadband by 2020.”

Ian Timms, West Somerset Councils Assistant Director, said: “Superfast Broadband is the key piece of infrastructure which can really make a difference in West Somerset – it’s the area’s communications ‘motorway’.  This is great news for Minehead as it will support businesses and provide a very welcome boost for the town and the local economy.  It`s also great to hear that further cabinets will be connected in Minehead and the surrounding area soon.”

Graham Sizer, chairman of the Minehead Chamber of Commerce, said: “I’ve taken the opportunity to get superfast broadband and I’m delighted with it – it’s given me an extra hour every day, simply because of the speed with which I can get everything done online now. It’s reduced the time I need to spend at the computer by 25 per cent, which is a real benefit to my Chamber activities. It really does make a huge difference.”

Benefiting from an 80 Mbps connection, the Beach Hotel is a fitting location and is in itself a Minehead success story, a thriving business that reflects the air of positivity around the Somerset resort presently. Run by the Somerset Coast YMCA, the hotel opened in 2014, having received £332,000 from the Coastal Community Fund for a refurbishment that has boosted jobs and apprenticeships in the town.

Laurent Boon, BT Programme Director said “This is what the Connecting Devon and Somerset project is all about – making a real difference to communities across the county in improving business, education and leisure opportunities and accessibility generally.

The programme has made substantial progress since the first fibre cabinet went live back in 2013 and it is exciting to hear about the real benefits that people are already experiencing from having this technology.”

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