2,500 responses to Devon and Somerset super-fast broadband scheme
A campaign designed to illustrate demand for super-fast broadband in Devon and Somerset has attracted more than 2,500 responses, less than a week since its launch.
The Connecting Devon and Somerset initiative, which began last Monday (February 6th 2012), is urging local residents and businesses to complete a questionnaire detailing their current experience of using the internet and how faster access would benefit them. It can be completed online or via the telephone and will remain open until February 29th.
Devon and Somerset county councils are running the scheme, with support from North Somerset, Plymouth and Torbay councils.
The local authorities are aiming to deliver super-fast broadband with download rates of more than 24Mbps to at least 85 per cent of commercial and residential properties by 2015, while remaining premises will be hooked up to minimum speeds of 2Mbps. By 2020, it is hoped that next-generation broadband will be available to every home and business in the two south-west counties.
Ofcom figures show that almost a fifth of properties across both counties currently receive speeds of less than 2Mbps.
Some £31 million of funding for the initiative has been provided by government agency Broadband Delivery UK, while Devon and Somerset county councils will invest up to £10 million each.
However, further financial support is required from the private sector for the project to be a success. If commercial backers are to get behind the rollout, strong evidence of demand for super-fast broadband is required and the councils have said at least 10,000 responses to the survey are needed to achieve this goal.
Somerset County Councillor David Hall said: "We are very thrilled by the response so far and I'd like to thank all those that have responded. This is tremendous news and shows that there is substantial demand for super-fast broadband.
"It's vital we have the whole picture though, so we need to ask as many people as possible to take part."