Broadband for business

North Somerset has big ambitions for regenerating and growing the value of the local economy. The rollout of high speed fibre broadband in North Somerset is central to this work and will help to support the creation of new jobs, homes, and opportunities for local people. Better broadband connectivity is becoming increasingly vital as many existing businesses are looking to grow, businesses from outside the area are looking to relocate and there is increased interest from potential investors.

For a business to succeed in today’s global economy high speed broadband is essential. Not only does it allow businesses to work faster and more efficiently, greater connectivity means more reliable and consistent service, it can reduce costs, create jobs and help businesses to grow. With faster speeds, small and large businesses can boost their productivity and it will present new opportunities for businesses to become more resilient, communicate with customers and clients online, improve customer service and open the door to doing more business overseas.

The Connecting Devon and Somerset Programme

The Connecting Devon and Somerset (BDUK) programme has been set up to deliver next generation broadband infrastructure to areas where the market has failed to invest. North Somerset is part of this public-private partnership of six local authorities (Somerset, Devon, North Somerset, Torbay, Plymouth and Bath and North East Somerset) and the delivery partner BT.

The aim of the programme is to bring high speed fibre broadband  to 90% of premises in the area covered by the Connecting Devon and Somerset programme. This means that most residents and businesses will have broadband speeds of over 24Mbps by the end of 2016. By then, the aim is also to ensure that every premise within the programme area has a broadband speed of at least 2Mbps.

The programme will mostly be using Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC). This is where broadband is delivered from the telephone exchange through fibre optic cables to new green cabinets, placed alongside existing roadside cabinets. From there, copper cables will connect to each premises that is linked to that cabinet.

Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) may also be used in certain areas. Here, fibre optic cables are used to connect a property directly to the telephone exchange with no cabinet or copper in-between. Alternative solutions are also being explored for properties in the hardest to reach areas. Such solutions may include wifi, satellite or even technologies still under development.

Phase One of the roll-out of broadband infrastructure is now nearly complete in the North Somerset area and a substantial number of cabinets and exchanges have already been upgraded as part of the first phase of the programme. To discover if and when you will be able to access high speed broadband visit the Connecting Devon and Somerset (BDUK) website www.connectingdevonandsomerset.co.uk. The website acts as the central source of information and offers information on business support, events, FAQs, information for residents, useful speed checkers and events.

All programme updates regarding the roll out will appear on the Connecting Devon and Somerset (BDUK) programme website as soon as this information is publicly available so please keep checking for the progress of survey and physical works to see when your business and home can start taking advantage of high speed fibre broadband and which Internet Service providers are operating in your area.

Get up to Speed

As part of the Connecting Devon and Somerset (BDUK) Programme The Cosmic Peninsular Consortium has begun a series of workshops and events that will follow the infrastructure roll out as it moves across Devon and Somerset, helping businesses and individuals access information and develop the skills to get the most from faster broadband speed. To find out what support is on offer for your business please visit the Get up to Speed pages and to check which events are taking place near year please visit the Get up to Speed calendar of events

Getting Everyone Connected

Connecting Devon and Somerset has committed to bringing broadband to everyone within the programme area. If you are not yet able to receive broadband speeds of over 2Mbps you may be able to get connected through the CDS voucher scheme. The scheme will provide a subsidy of up to £500, in the form of a voucher code, to fund the installation of a new broadband connection. Each premise can choose their supplier from a given list; with every solution guaranteeing a minimum of 10Mbps download speed.

Applications will be open until the 30th of November 2016 allowing suppliers time to complete installations and claim funding within the financial year of the scheme. Vouchers are available to individual residents, small businesses and communities who must approach the approved suppliers on the scheme for further details of their services and decide on the best fit with their requirements. Communities should work with suppliers to decide on a solution, however the individual voucher holder is able select their own supplier and a group cannot make a decision on behalf of another. Any premises connected through the scheme are still eligible for later extensions of the broader programme.

For more information of the scheme and the process please visit https://www.connectingdevonandsomerset.co.uk/cds-broadband-voucher-scheme/