18th November 2019

Superfast broadband public consultation launched

A public consultation has been launched by Connecting Devon and Somerset (CDS) ahead of undertaking a fresh procurement to find contractors to provide superfast broadband.

CDS, which is responsible for rolling out broadband across the two counties, is establishing the remaining area where there are no current or credible future plans to deliver Next Generation Access (NGA) broadband infrastructure capable of download speeds of at least 30Mbps.

To establish the existing coverage of broadband infrastructure in the programme area as well as that planned for the next three years, CDS carried out an Open Market Review (OMR) earlier this year. This included commercial coverage by existing and prospective broadband providers as well as coverage procured through CDS contracts.

This has helped CDS to establish the area where intervention is to be proposed, avoiding areas where commercial investment is planned as public investment in broadband can only take place in areas where there is no broadband infrastructure and where none is planned in the next three years. Comments on these proposals are now invited.

Consultation responses need to be submitted by Tuesday 10 December to enquiries@connectingdevonandsomerset.co.uk. or in writing to OMR consultation, Economy Team, AB2 Lucombe House, County Hall, Exeter, EX2 4QD.

The consultation will enable broadband providers to review the mapping to ensure it correctly represents the information provided by them. Full details on how to respond are available at https://www.connectingdevonandsomerset.co.uk/cds-2019-omr-public-consultation/

Responses to the consultation will help inform the final premises CDS will seek solutions for when it launches a new procurement in December.

Councillor Rufus Gilbert, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Economy and Skills and CDS board member, said: “We’re keen to extend the availability of Next Generation Access infrastructure across the CDS area, and this public consultation will enable us to set out the proposed areas where we will need to focus our efforts.

“Having carried out our Open Market Review we have asked all known broadband infrastructure providers for their existing and potential plans for new network build in our area.

Councillor David Hall, Cabinet Member for Economic Development, Planning and Community Infrastructure, said: “This is an opportunity for broadband providers to review these proposals so that we can understand the capacity and capability of the market, but we would welcome all public feedback through this consultation.

“Our priority is to ensure that public funding has the biggest impact in increasing coverage and ensuring more areas can benefit from higher speed broadband.”

Nearly one million homes and businesses in Devon and Somerset now have access to superfast broadband thanks to the Government supported CDS programme and stimulation of the commercial market which is an important element of CDS’s role.

Of these, over 300,000 homes and businesses have access to superfast broadband as a direct result of investment by CDS.

For more information go to https://www.connectingdevonandsomerset.co.uk/cds-2019-omr-public-consultation/