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New contractors appointed to roll out full fibre broadband across Devon and Somerset

Truespeed, Airband and Wessex Internet selected to roll out full-fibre networks on behalf of the Connecting Devon and Somerset (CDS) programme

Ringing out the old, ringing in the new – music to the ears for over 56,000 rural homes and businesses across Devon and Somerset who are set to benefit from around £80million combined public and private sector investment to roll-out full fibre broadband networks.

Complementing the Government’s ambition to build a Gigabit capable network across the UK, the Connecting Devon and Somerset (CDS) programme has selected three well-established companies with experience of working in the South-West to install full fibre broadband across the region. 

Matt Warman MP

The CDS funding – which runs until the end of 2024 – will enable Truespeed, Airband and Wessex Internet to pass thousands more properties, including even the most remote and rural locations where infrastructure build costs would otherwise be prohibitive.

Minister for Digital Infrastructure, Matt Warman MP, said: “Today’s announcement marks a major step forward in our mission to build back better in the South West, with thousands of homes and businesses set to be linked up to lightning fast gigabit broadband thanks to an £18.4 million investment by the government. With Airband, Truespeed and Wessex Internet now on board I am confident we will deliver on our ambition for an infrastructure revolution in Devon and Somerset.”

CDS divided the area into 6 Lots and began communications in February 2020 with the procurement process running through until December.

Truespeed submitted and won bids for Lots A and B which overlay Truespeed’s current area of operation in B&NES (Bath & North East Somerset), North Somerset, Mendip and part of Sedgemoor. By building a brand new infrastructure, Truespeed is able to deliver 10 gigabit-capable full fibre broadband directly into premises.  Winning the CDS contract comes at the end of a year in which Truespeed has already passed over 40,000 properties bypassed by national broadband providers.

“We are delighted to have won these prestigious contracts with CDS to bring Gigabit-capable full fibre broadband to harder to reach communities in the south west. As a Somerset-based business focused on building out our own full fibre infrastructure to areas left behind by the industry giants, we are the natural partner for CDS,” commented Evan Wienburg, Truespeed CEO.

“The requirement for full fibre broadband is essential as more people study and work from home. Many Truespeed customers are already benefiting from our ultra-reliable, ultra-fast broadband service and we will continue to work as hard and as fast as we can to accelerate our roll out,” he continued.

A community-focused business, Truespeed provides schools passed by its network with free ultrafast broadband connectivity for life. This ensures school-age children have fast, reliable internet access to support their education.

“We’re pleased to confirm the appointment of three well-established, regionally-based suppliers to help with the challenge of delivering the next phase of the CDS programme,” commented Councillor David Hall, CDS Board Member and Somerset County Council Cabinet Member for Economic Development, Planning and Community Infrastructure. “They have significant experience of delivering broadband connections in rural areas of Devon and Somerset, so they have an understanding of the remote areas where CDS is looking to improve connectivity. This investment will deliver full fibre broadband ahead of many other parts of the country.”

Councillor Rufus Gilbert, CDS Board Member and Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Economy and Skills added “These contracts will deliver vital connectivity to a significant number of rural communities across Devon and Somerset helping our businesses and supporting local jobs. Access to services online, home working and staying connected has never been more important, and these investments will provide a much needed boost to our rural and coastal communities.”

The whole Connecting Devon and Somerset programme is expected to deliver an £800 million boost to the regional economy.

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