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Countdown To Better Broadband

14th April, 2011
Devon County Council has issued a call to arms today urging Devon residents and businesses to get behind their bid to win vital Government funding for superfast broadband.

Residents and businesses are being asked to complete a survey supporting the bid at www.connectingdevonandsomerset.co.uk. Every entry counts and there are only a few days in which to take part.

The application to the Government?s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) agency will be submitted before the deadline of 18th April. BDUK was launched at the beginning of March with a ?530m fund.

A critical part of the bid is demonstrating the need for improved connectivity. The short survey will help residents, businesses and community groups share the issues they may be facing and to register their demand for superfast broadband. Completing this survey will provide substantial support to the application.

Devon County Councillor Will Mumford, Cabinet Member for Economic Regeneration and Strategic Planning said ?This is a crucial bid for Devon, rural businesses need a significant improvement to their broadband service to remain competitive and support growth.

?Superfast broadband will encourage local entrepreneurs to start businesses and create jobs, while existing businesses will be able to access new markets, promoting enterprise and boosting the county?s economy.

?It will also make a real difference to communities through enabling home working, reducing commuting and improving access to information and public services.
?We need the people of Devon to really get behind this bid and show their support so we are asking businesses and residents to complete the survey either online or request a copy that can be completed and sent through the post.?

If successful the bid, which is being made in partnership with Somerset County Council, will bring a superfast service to both counties exceeding 20MB/s to 85% of businesses and homes, with a minimum of 2MB/s to all premises by 2015.

Small and micro businesses are essential to Devon and Somerset?s largely rural economy. Market forces will not provide fast broadband to rural areas, therefore without this funding there is a real danger that the region will lag behind other areas of the UK.

A survey undertaken by both Councils found that 22% of Devon businesses reported that slow broadband acted as a constraint on growth and productivity, with 75% citing that improved speeds would assist their business. 

In Somerset it showed that poor broadband is a barrier for 22% of rural businesses, compared to 5% of businesses in urban areas.

The Government is expected to decide who has successfully bid for BDUK funding by the end of May.

As well as taking part in the survey, businesses and residents can also write in or email their support and explain what a difference improved broadband will make to them.

For more information go to www.connectingdevonandsomerset.co.uk
 
For Devon enquiries email: economy@devon.gov.uk or tel: 01392 383428. For Somerset enquiries email: somerseteconomicdevelopment@somerset.gov.uk or tel: 01823 355867.

ENDS