Moving at speed to provide broadband to more homes and businesses

Somerset County Council’s Cabinet today (26.09.16) received the latest update on work to bring superfast broadband to the county.

The Connecting Devon and Somerset (CDS) programme has now given over 316,200 premises access to fibre broadband, of which 263,187 premises have access to superfast broadband (24Mbps).

Meanwhile, the National Parks part of the programme will see the first properties on Exmoor connected this Autumn.

Today’s Cabinet meeting approved a decision to move phase two of the programme forward at speed. The £39.5m government-funded second phase aims to give broadband access to tens of thousands more homes and businesses in Somerset.

Cllr David Hall, Deputy Leader of Somerset County Council, said: “Working closely with our partners, CDS is making excellent progress and Cabinet’s decision will help move phase two contract decisions forward quickly. It is very encouraging that the market is responding to the contract and I am confident that we can appoint a supplier(s) who can deliver our ambitious targets to connect more people and businesses to fast broadband speeds.”

In July potential suppliers were invited to bid to deliver the work, and today’s Cabinet meeting formally gave officers decision-making powers to move the process of appointing a supplier forward.

The market has shown a high level of interest in bidding for the contract before the deadline of 21 October, 2016. The timescales for reaching contract award will depend on the number of bids received.

The final contract award decision will be made by the Connecting Devon and Somerset Board, and confirmed through the county council key decision process.

Phase two of the programme aims to connect many more properties and it is hoped that the programme will attract additional private sector investment and innovative Next Generation Access broadband services (a minimum of 30Mbps) and ultrafast broadband (speeds greater than 100 Mbps).