1,000th fibre cabinet installed in Connecting Devon and Somerset broadband rollout

The multimillion pound Connecting Devon and Somerset (CDS) partnership today announced it had reached a major milestone in its roll-out of superfast fibre broadband.

The 1,000th CDS fibre broadband roadside cabinet has just gone ‘live’ in Axminster. More than 1,700 households and businesses in the Devon town already have access to faster fibre broadband speeds of up to 80Mbps with the roll-out expected to reach more than 4,300 premises in the Axminster area during 2016.

Andy Cable, proprietor of online music store Axe Music, who is based in Axminster, welcomed the latest milestone saying: “This is fantastic news for not only our business but Axminster as a whole.

“We are fortunate to be accessing superfast speeds of up to 80Mbps, which is pretty impressive. It has made our online processes, such as customers paying by debit card, much more quick and efficient. There are quite a few branches of our company around the country, so it’s great that we now have the technology to keep up with the others. With faster connectivity as a result of Connecting Devon and Somerset, we’ll be able to be more competitive in what is a very tough market.

“I’m glad that I placed my order to get superfast broadband installed – I’d encourage everybody to take advantage.”

The programme is making excellent progress to provide faster broadband to the ‘final third’ of premises unlikely to benefit from the private sector’s commercial broadband investment, the majority in rural locations. Since its launch in 2013, CDS has made superfast fibre optic broadband available to more than 221,000 households and businesses – and the number is continuing to grow rapidly.

The rollout has gathered momentum with the achievement of many milestones over the past year as fibre broadband services became available to about 8,500 more premises each month. CDS is on track to make superfast broadband available to around 90 per cent of Devon and Somerset premises by the end of 2016.

Councillor Andrew Leadbetter, cabinet member for economy and growth for Devon County Council, said: “Reaching this milestone is a great achievement, and an especially welcome one, as we start the New Year as people are increasingly relying on the internet for shopping, playing games online and other leisure activities. Our plan to bring superfast broadband to around 90 per cent of homes and businesses by the end of 2016 is continuing at pace and on schedule, with a committed team working hard to overcome challenges and close the digital divide to benefit local businesses, boost the economy and improve the internet access we all rely on as part of our everyday lives. There is still a lot of work to do, but we hope the next phase of the programme will increase coverage further.”

Councillor David Hall, Somerset County Council’s cabinet member for business inward investment and policy, said: “This is a positive start to 2016, connecting rural premises to improved digital technologies. It is more than two years since the first cabinet went live and now over 221,000 households and businesses can access superfast broadband. Throughout phase one of the programme, CDS has demonstrated its commitment to over-coming challenges and in doing so, it is on schedule. Now the New Year is under way, we look forward to continuing to set a high benchmark for the continuation for the rollout scheme.”

Paul Coles, BT South West regional manager, said: “The fact that Connecting Devon and Somerset has already successfully installed its 1,000th fibre broadband cabinet – and many thousands of miles of optical fibre – demonstrates the great success of this partnership. Every week our engineers are rolling out high-speed fibre broadband to more communities in challenging locations. This exciting technology is providing a major boost for local households and businesses. If you are a businessperson, you can use it to find new customers and work more efficiently. If you are a local resident, you can use fibre broadband for a wide range of activities from entertainment and shopping to online learning and staying in touch with friends and relatives.”