Devon & Somerset Fibre Takes a Blow!

27th June 2015

Connecting Devon And Somerset

In what is something of a blow to many Small Businesses - and indeed consumers in Devon & Somerset, the latest extension to the programme where the government help fund expansion of Fibre Broadband coverage to areas of Devon and Cornwall that BT's Openreach arm wouldn't consider "viable" financially without help.

The idea was that we'd get towards a 95% coverage by the end of 2016, so that decent broadband speeds would be available to almost all. Here at VPW towers, we'd love them to sort this out - firstly because our customers frequently tell us that poor connectivity is a problem (although we do offer a range of options to help them - such as our Managed Bonded Broadband Services) - but also because even at our office - in central Exeter Fibre isn't actually available.

Devon & Somerset councils aren't too amused either - as these press releases suggest:


Andrew Leadbetter, Cabinet Member for Devon County Council, said:
I feel let down by BT and their lack of ambition, as well as their unwillingness to negotiate a good deal for the residents and businesses of Devon and Somerset! What they were offering did not represent good value for money and would not have addressed the issues of providing universal provision.

I am only too well aware of how important good broadband connections are to our rural businesses and residents. But we’re committed to delivering value for money for our residents in everything we do. In all conscience we couldn't sign up to this new deal because it just didn’t deliver. We are, however, still on track through the first phase of the project. We will now go to an open procurement process without delay. I am determined that this should be done as quickly as possible.”

Meanwhile - the leader of Somerset council also had some thoughts:

David Hall, Cabinet Member for Somerset County Council, said:
This is a huge disappointment for us. BT have let the County Councils down, they have also let the Connecting Devon and Somerset Partnership down, and worst of all they have let residents, communities and businesses in Somerset and Devon down. We have a duty to seek best value for all our residents and their tender for the next phase of the programme was just not up to scratch.

We are actually aware of the importance of Superfast Broadband for all our residents but we also needed to make sure we got value for money on behalf of our taxpayers. In taking this action we have acted in the best interests of those who live and run businesses in the region and we will now do everything we can to minimise the delay this causes to the programme. CDS will issue more details once timescales for a new procurement are confirmed. CDS will continue to work with BT on the delivery of phase one of the programme to meet the Government’s target of 90% coverage by the end of 2016.”

What can you do if there's no fibre?

Whilst we can't make Fibre Broadband turn up in areas badly served, we do have a wide range of clever technologies and services that can double, triple and even quadruple your speeds - even though Fibre isn't available - not only will you get better broadband, it'll be more reliable and able to workaround issues that even Fibre doesn't solve. Give our team a call on 01392 950 950 and see how we can help your business in Devon, Somerset and Dorset get better connectivity.

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