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Undersea cable brings ultrafast broadband to Somerset and Wiltshire

Tuesday, May 12th 2015 by Ellen Branagh

A new partnership between two communications companies is to bring ultrafast broadband speeds to Somerset and Wiltshire.

The partnership between TrueSpeed Communications and Hibernia Networks will allow people in the area to access speeds of 100Mbps or more, sooner than planned.

The agreement will allow TrueSpeed access to Hibernia Networks’ high-specification ducting, which runs through the middle of TrueSpeed’s planned network route.

Hibernia, which owns and operates a global network connecting North America, Europe and Asia, is installing a new submarine cable system between New York and London, connecting Halifax in Nova Scotia, with Brean in the UK.

The high-capacity, low-latency fibre optic path, called Hibernia Express, includes high-specification ducting across Wiltshire and Somerset.

TrueSpeed Communications, which was formed in January 2015, will provide an ultrafast (over 100Mbps), low latency, fibre network, along with other communication services, throughout the region.

TrueSpeed has bought sub-ducting along the route from Hibernia Networks, which will allow it to complete the new network ahead of schedule.

The network will increase broadband connectivity for thousands of businesses and homes along the 77km route from Brean to Chippenham, Wiltshire.

TrueSpeed is backed by individual shareholders living in North East Somerset, and is currently fundraising for the initial rollout of the network, with work hoped to start in the summer.

'Milestone'

CEO Evan Wienburg said: "This deal marks a milestone that has taken several months to plan.

"The partnership represents a significant investment for internet connectivity in our region.

"It proves that national and international infrastructure can be shared for the benefit of local communities, and that infrastructure investment aimed at improving the quality of service can be achieved where the business case makes sense."

Mr Wienburg said the collaboration shows that internationally-focused companies like Hibernia could create "huge social benefit" at a local level by working with smaller companies like TrueSpeed.

Bjarni Thorvardarson, CEO of Hibernia Networks, added: “We realise that the communities surrounding the Hibernia Express cable route have experienced disruption over the past few months.

“Hibernia Networks is proud to be partnering with TrueSpeed, as our relationship better enables TrueSpeed to deliver broadband connectivity to the affected communities. “This connectivity results in enhanced network access to Somerset and Wiltshire’s thousands of residences and businesses."

Local MP Jacob Rees-Mogg (Con – North East Somerset), also welcomed the partnership as "marvelous news" for the area, dubbing it a "far-sighted arrangement".

He said: "Our rural communities are in need of better broadband and, through this agreement, TrueSpeed is able to deliver."

He said the goal is to provide the whole region with access to "the fastest broadband available", helping businesses to grow.

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