Two thirds of villagers in Petrockstowe already signed up for high-speed broadband

Petrockstowe in North Devon has emerged as one of the leading South West communities for take-up of superfast broadband – with about two thirds of villagers having already signed up for the high-speed technology following the roll out of the Connecting Devon and Somerset (CDS) programme in the area.

Some 140 Petrockstowe households and businesses are now enjoying speeds up to 80 times faster than they had previously experienced.

Petrockstowe resident David Lowe, said: “We moved to this lovely village in 2007 from a large town in East Buckinghamshire, where 2Mbps broadband speed had recently been implemented across the board by our internet service provider. Here, we were able to get a 1Mbps line speed, which was apparently one of the fastest in the Village!

“Good connectivity is essential. Working from home and with the mobile signals being weak, superfast internet access is no longer a luxury, but a necessity.

“After suffering for years with a slow service, it was uplifting to see Openreach (BT’s local network business) installing the fibre cabinets which our village had long campaigned for. We are now receiving 80Mbps line speed which is fantastic and our home broadband speed is now 40 times greater than parts of the major town near London where my company HQ is located. We truly are in the 21st century now.”

Over the last six months, take up of superfast broadband has increased by 3.5 per cent across the CDS programme area. About 56,000 households and businesses are now connected to the fibre network, representing a take-up rate of 21.7 per cent in the Connecting Devon and Somerset intervention area.

The CDS programme, which commenced in 2013, is now 80 per cent complete, with around 1,200 cabinets live and more than 221,000 homes and businesses capable of connecting to superfast fibre broadband – a number which is growing rapidly.

Councillor Andrew Leadbetter, cabinet member for economy and growth for Devon County Council, said: “Take up in the village of Petrockstowe and across the region is exceeding the forecast of 20 per cent sign up by BT at this early stage which is testimony to all the hard work of the CDS partnership.

“A major focus, and challenge, for the CDS team has been to deliver superfast broadband in remote and technically difficult to reach rural areas. It’s great to see more and more people living and working in these areas now benefitting from high-speed fibre optic broadband and the vastly enhanced internet speeds and connectivity that it brings.”

Paul Coles, South West regional manager for BT, which is investing £41 million in the Connecting Devon and Somerset programme, said: “Petrockstowe is a great example of a local community, which has really embraced the great benefits of high-speed fibre broadband. This exciting technology is transforming the lives of local people, providing a vital boost for communities across the South West. The Connecting Devon and Somerset rollout is continuing at a rapid pace reaching thousands more homes and businesses every month.”

Local people have also been benefitting from CDS’s Get up to Speed programme which provides a range of drop in sessions to enable communities to get the most out of superfast connectivity.

Kate Doodson, executive director at Cosmic Peninsula Consortium, which delivers the Get up to Speed programme, said: “We’ve been providing sessions such as ‘Get Connected with Tablets’ to improve local people’s knowledge of superfast broadband and give them the confidence to make the switch. These have been extremely well attended and the feedback has been very positive.”

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