computer and water bottle on a desk in the sun

The Connecting Devon and Somerset programme (CDS) is a partnership of local authorities, working to deliver improved broadband across the region. The programme is focusing on homes and businesses where the commercial sector had no plans to deliver broadband upgrades. Members of the Devon Climate Emergency Partnership and Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership are involved in the project.

It is expected the programme will deliver an £800 million boost to the regional economy, enabling more people to work from home and reduce the internet connectivity gap between rural and urban areas. As of March 2021, new contracts have been secured to provide an additional 56,000 premises across Devon and Cornwall with full fibre service by the end of 2024. This additional coverage means that in Devon just under 96% of homes and businesses will have a superfast or gigabit capable service by the end of 2024. The new contracts represent public funding of £36.8 million, including £12.3 million from local authorities and the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership, on top of commercial investment from all three suppliers, bringing the total investment into the area of £77.9 million.

Airband have been contracted to deliver the upgrades in Devon. Delivery will occur in phases between 2021 and 2024, with phase one of the new contracts is due to start in April 2021 at Powderham; Halberton to Bradninch; Tiverton to Nomansland; Bishopsteignton and Luscombe; and Marldon and Coombe Fishacre. All are expected to be completed in the summer of this year.

How is this helping Devon reach net-zero?

Goal 10.4: Relocalisation of services, as well as use of technology reduces the need to travel in all community types.

Connecting over 95% of Devon’s homes to high quality broadband increases access to tele-working, reducing the need to travel, and works to balance out the connectivity gap felt across Devon’s rural areas.