Huge demand for faster Broadband

Bantham Beach by Lucy Valentine

Posted on: 19 March 2012

The campaign to bring superfast broadband to properties across Devon and Somerset is proving extremely successful.  So far, 15,000 individuals and businesses have responded to the survey being run by the Connecting Devon and Somerset project.  Broadband coverage in much of the area is very poor, with Watchet in Somerset being one of the UK’s worst ten postcodes for broadband speeds, according to a survey carried out by price comparison site uSwitch.

Originally, the project team aimed to achieve a minimum of 10,000 responses to ensure their results were statistically representative of the whole region. But, as Devon County Councillor, Will Mumford, explains – the more people respond, the more leverage the consortium has with broadband suppliers: “We’re delighted that so many people are taking part in our survey. If we can evidence really strong demand for superfast broadband across Devon and Somerset, then we will be a much more attractive proposition for private sector investment in the network. We are keeping the telephone line and internet survey open into the summer. People can respond via the website or they can call 0844 4636887.”

“We pride ourselves on being a really forward-thinking and innovative online company, but we’re hampered by something as basic as access to fast and reliable broadband; access that people in cities just take for granted,” says Simon Wood from the Well Hung Meat Company.

“We need a good infrastructure to support a buoyant economy,” agrees Geoff Sayers from sister company Carswell Cottages.

In Kingsbridge, the local exchange has recently been upgraded and on some days the connection can be as fast as 6Mb per second. However, 1.5Mb per second is more usual and the service can be unreliable.

Herring Shoes is a business which is largely web-based and it relies on a fast broadband connection.

“We’re running a global brand. We sell hundreds of pairs of shoes every day through the web,” says Adrian Herring, “and if it goes down, it really costs us.”

Read more about why better broadband access is so important to local businesses.

The Connecting Devon and Somerset project aims to provide 100% broadband coverage at 2Mbps with a minimum of 85% superfast broadband at 24Mbps by 2015 and superfast broadband for all by 2020. According to Ofcom, almost 18% of premises across Devon and Somerset are getting less than 2 Mbps. In Somerset, just 4% of the county can access superfast broadband, while in Devon, with two major cities, that rises to 17%.

1 comment on “Huge demand for faster Broadband

  1. Gordon Guest on said:

    many rural primary schools have very poor broadband speeds. Thgis effects the way they can not meet their legal requirements in teaching ICT. Interesting isn’t it that whilst the ICT curriculum is a legal requirement there is no legal requirement to make providers deliver good broadband. Perhaps OFSTED should inspect all providers of schools broadband! They wouldn’t know what had hit them. Interesting also that local MPs are not making sure their schools have adequate broadband to deliver the curriculum

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