Spring start is announced to bring full fibre broadband to areas of rural East Devon – in Sidmouth, Colyton and Gittisham

Work to roll out full fibre broadband to rural areas of East Devon and Exeter is set to start in the spring, it has been announced.

This year parts of Colyton, Gittisham and Sidmouth, in East Devon, plus thousands of addresses in Exeter, will be connected by internet service provider Airband as part of the Connecting Devon and Somerset (CDS) programme.

In the spring, work is scheduled to get underway in parts of the South West, as well as in areas of Colyton, Gittisham and Sidmouth.

In Devon, work will be starting this winter to build access to more than 3,000 premises from Exeter to Silverton, in mid Devon.

Councillor Rufus Gilbert, CDS board member and Devon County Council cabinet member for economic recovery and skills, said: “It’s excellent news that thousands more people now have access to gigabit capable full fibre broadband and that work is due to get underway to provide even more connections.

“A huge amount of infrastructure work is due to take place over the next 12 months which will eventually provide access to a further 14,000 premises.”

Karl Tucker, Chair of the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), said: “Rural connectivity is vital to improving productivity and prosperity across the Heart of the South West. It’s fantastic that thousands more homes and businesses will benefit from full fibre broadband, helping to keep communities connected, and ensure businesses don’t miss out on going digital.”

Devon County Council (DCC) said the full-fibre broadband industry was continuing to face national and international pressures affecting a number of areas of the sector including recruitment and retention, supply of materials and civil engineering capacity.

To cope with these issues and the additional challenges of building fibre broadband networks in rural areas – such as securing land access agreements (wayleaves) – Airband has revised its build plans for its contracted areas covering Taunton, West Somerset, East Devon, Mid Devon, Exeter, Teignbridge and the South Hams.

These plans have been agreed with CDS and Building Digital UK.

Redmond Peel, Airband founder and director, said: “We’re very pleased with the progress made on this project so far, and encouraged by the number of households and businesses that are already benefitting from it.

“Many more people have registered interest in the project, which bodes very well for the region as a whole in terms of increased access to the benefits of FTTP broadband.

“Compared with more urban settings, building, maintaining and upgrading rural broadband networks can present some unique challenges – for instance to date, across the whole project, we have applied for and obtained over 550 wayleaves.”

He added: “Working closely with CDS, we strive to meet these challenges head on and are looking forward to connecting many more communities in 2023 and beyond.”

The county council said CDS has delivered superfast access to more homes and businesses than any other broadband programme in England.

More than 315,000 premises have received access to superfast broadband as a direct result of investment by CDS.

Airband has delivered broadband access to more than 22,400 homes on behalf of CDS.

  • See when the build dates are in your area here.


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