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Blackdown Hills villages to get ultrafast broadband from Gigaclear

Thursday, June 30th 2016 by Phil Wilkinson-Jones

Gigaclear is to take ultrafast broadband to the Blackdown Hills area of Devon and Somerset.

The provider is set to connect up to 2,000 properties in the area to its fibre network.

Villages including Upottery, Hemyock and Kittisford are expected to be among the first to benefit.

Tiverton and Honiton MP Neil Parish, who has been campaigning for better broadband in his constituency, spoke of his “delight” at Gigaclear’s planned investment.

He said: “I’ve been making the case for more commercial investment to increase choice and competition in the broadband sector.

“This is the sort of investment we’ve been looking for. This is really encouraging news for local residents and businesses.

“It complements Connecting Devon and Somerset’s programme, which is working across Devon and Somerset to provide faster broadband where the commercial sector isn’t investing.

“I look forward to Gigaclear working closely with local parishes to provide the broadband they need.”

Gigaclear CEO Matthew Hare said: “We’re really excited about starting a new pure fibre network project in Devon and Somerset that will transform ways of working, doing business, learning, communicating and being entertained in the area.

“We’ll be providing homes and businesses with a future-proof, world-class internet connection which will literally change the way they live their lives.”

Councillor Andrew Leadbetter, Devon County Council’s cabinet member for economy and growth, added: “This is fantastic news for residents and it’s a demonstration of the kinds of investment and community involvement we want to see more of in Devon and Somerset.

'Work from home'

“Many people work from home across Devon and Somerset and an excellent internet connection is vital to the growth of the local economy.”

Gigaclear’s announcement comes just weeks after a community group submitted an outline application for European funding to improve broadband coverage in the area.

The Blackdown Hills Parish Network, which represents 39 parish councils in Devon and Somerset, is hoping to secure £4.6m from the European Regional Development Fund.

Heather Stallard, the group’s chair, said the bid represents an exciting opportunity for Blackdown parishes not included in the Connecting Devon and Somerset programme.

““It will enable our residents and businesses to have access to the technology and trade routes of the 21st century and we hope that the Department of Communities and Local Government will look favourably upon our outline application,” she said.

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