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Fibre broadband in Devon and Somerset business parks will help productivity

Friday, August 14th 2015 by Phil Wilkinson-Jones

Twenty business parks across Devon and Somerset are to get access to superfast broadband by the end of 2016.

The networks will serve 1,000 businesses in locations including Taunton, Exeter, Bridgwater, Glastonbury, Yeovil, Torquay and Weston-Super-Mare.

The 20 new locations are in addition to more than 200 businesses that the Connecting Devon and Somerset (CDS) programme has already connected to fibre networks or plans to connect in the near future.

Ben Rhodes, CEO of the Devon and Cornwall Business Council, said businesses are “greatly encouraged” by the announcement.

“Having access to superfast broadband represents a first and very important step towards enabling our region's businesses to improve their productivity and, ultimately, their competitiveness in the UK and global marketplaces,” he said.

“The immediate challenge now for all those businesses who have, or are about to have this additional capability, is to consider how digital connectivity could help to redefine their businesses.

“This is not just about doing things quicker, it's about doing things better and differently.”

The announcement came as the government revealed that the nationwide rollout of superfast broadband had passed 3m homes and businesses and with the news that CDS had passed 182,000 premises.

Councillor David Hall, deputy leader of Somerset County Council, said: “The excellent progress that Connecting Devon and Somerset is making means we can get more business parks connected earlier than expected.


“CDS remains one of the largest single superfast broadband programmes in England and makes an important contribution to the government’s national targets for the broadband rollout.

“Fast and stable broadband connection is one of the top priorities for modern businesses.

“By connecting these 20 additional business parks, we will provide enterprise with one of the tools needed to create economic prosperity and sustain local jobs.”

Neil Murphy, CEO at Somerset Chamber of Commerce, said the investment by CDS will allow firms in the area to expand and develop, but warned that there is more work to be done.

“Whilst we applaud and congratulate the good work that BT and the Connecting Devon and Somerset team have successfully delivered to date, we encourage them to review and accelerate the pace at which the rest of the rollout is completed,” he said.

“Somerset has a vibrant and growing economy which is forecasted to perform at least in line with, if not ahead of, the national average of 2.5% over the next six years, and we must have an infrastructure that matches this ambition.”

CDS has come under fire from residents in the two counties recently after the programme’s board failed to agree a deal with BT for the next phase of the area’s superfast rollout.

Cable.co.uk reported earlier this week that campaigners had formed a lobby group to demand answers over the rollout's future.

The 20 business parks that will get fibre broadband before the end of 2016 are: Woodlands and Express Park (Bridgwater), Lakeside (near Mells, Somerset); Dunkeswell Business Park, Pitts Cleave (Tavistock), Crown Industrial Estate (Taunton), Weston Business Quarter (Weston-Super-Mare), Milber Trading Estate (Newton Abbot), Colley Lane (Bridgwater), Lynx Trading Estate (Yeovil), Pathfields (South Molton), Deane Gate (Taunton), Cockington (Torquay), Marsh Barton (Exeter), Yalberton (Paignton), Winkleigh Business Park (Winkleigh, Devon), Morlands (Glastonbury), Greendale (Exeter), Bowdens (Hambridge), Hither Green (Clevedon) and Lee Mill (Ivybridge).

Picture courtesy of Ken Grainger.

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