Somerset to share in £200-300M for broadband
A £5bn program to roll out gigabyte broadband, has been announced this morning by Government. Somerset & Devon have been awarded between £198-£337m to share. The estimated date to finalise the procurement process is Feb – Apr 2023. The idea is to reach around 159,000 homes in the region that are harder to reach. In fact a sort of Connecting Devon and Somerset project phase two. It is the largest project on the list of regions announced today. It also attracted the largest amount of finance.
The project is expected to start work in the spring of 2024. Which begs a question, bearing in mind the speed of technological change. Will it already be obsolete by the time the project starts, never mind the time the project finishes?
The Department of Culture, Media and Sport are bullish about the plans.
They say: “Project Gigabit is the biggest broadband rollout in UK history and part of the Prime Minister’s plan to level up communities with the future-proofed connectivity they will need for the next forty years. Most of the gigabit-capable connections will be delivered through full fibre broadband cables. This provides the speed and reliability needed for several people to work from home, stream ultra high definition video content and play next-generation online games all at the same time.“
Once again we have been given a target. Government states its target is for at least 85 per cent of the UK to have access to a gigabit-capable connection by 2025. The UK has already hit 57 per cent gigabit coverage, up from less than six per cent in 2019. Somerset is, as we reported last month, already a laggard compared to the rest of the country.
We were promised 90% broadband coverage at the end of the Connecting Devon & Somerset project. In Somerton & Frome, 3 years after the project finished, 15% of the population cannot get 10mbps internet*.
*Source: House of Commons report into broadband connectivity by constituency published Sept 2021