Local Broadband Plan Addendum – Bath and North East Somerset
Along with existing partners, Somerset County Council, Devon County Council, Plymouth City Council, North Somerset Council and Torbay Council; the 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 2Mbps. In Somerset, just 4% of the county can access superfast broadband, while in Devon (with two major cities) that rises to 17%.
So far over 25,000 people have responded to the campaign requesting them to register information about their current online activity. This includes asking about current broadband speeds, what people would be prepared to pay and what faster speeds will mean for them, their business and their community.
Anyone can register by visiting the the link here.
The Councils need at least 10,000 responses to be confident that the data collected is representative across the whole region. The survey was originally due to close on 29th February but has been extended to ensure residents and businesses in Bath and North East Somerset have time to participate.
The project has already secured £31 million of funding from the government agency Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) and a further £700,000 will support Bath and North East Somerset membership. In addition, both Somerset and Devon County Councils will be putting in up to £10 million each, with contributions from other partners bringing the public sector investment to a total of £53 million.
Councillor David Hall, Somerset County Council’s Cabinet Member for Strategic Planning and Economic Development, commented:
“It’s great to welcome Bath and North East Somerset to the partnership. It gives us much more reach and an even stronger voice with broadband suppliers. Access to a fast and reliable broadband service is taken for granted in many cities. It’s an essential of modern living and without it our residents, communities and businesses are disadvantaged. We are delighted that so many people are taking the time to register for our survey. It proves that there is huge demand out there.”
Councillor Cherry Beath, Bath and North East Somerset Cabinet Member for Sustainable Communities, said:
“Joining the Connecting Devon and Somerset Broadband programme is really good news for Bath & North East Somerset Council residents because it takes us another step towards 21st century standard broadband infrastructure.”
“Faster broadband speeds are a vital part of our plan to build a stronger economy through supporting businesses to be more competitive and cost efficient, helping local people to access services and provide information and learning opportunities. The Council is looking forward to working with our partners and the community to roll this out across the District.”