Faster broadband ahead for region

PUBLISHED: 08:00 31 May 2011 | UPDATED: 10:53 31 May 2011




HUNDREDS of homes and businesses across the region will soon benefit from superfast broadband.

A joint bid to the Government by North Somerset Council and Somerset County Council, along with the neighbouring authority in Devon, was last week given the green light by the Government.

The authorities will now receive £30million funding, with North Somerset Council now saying the funding means it is now planning to get all residents across the authority online by 2015, with 9,000 homes across the region expected to benefit as a direct result of the bids success.

The council plans to have broadband access for 85 per cent of premises in the region by that year, with that figure rising to 100 per cent by 2020.

The authority said business leaders had welcomed the news, and had predicted it would deliver a £750million boost to local economies, with the potential to create 50,000 new jobs across the three authorities.

With the acceptance of the bid, a planned superfast broadband network from Plymouth to Portishead can now go ahead, benefitting 836,000 businesses and residents.

The authorities will now look at finding the best internet provider as part of a huge investment programme in the region of around £100million.

Councillor Elfan Ap Rees, North Somerset Council’s deputy leader and executive member for economic development, said: “This is a major success for the whole bid area and it is great that North Somerset will benefit from the Government funding as well.

“More than 30 per cent of North Somerset businesses are based from home, so this will be a major help for small businesses to become more competitive and grow. “This will also reach across thousands of North Somerset businesses and homes improving access to services and providing improved internet access.”

The leader of Somerset County Council, Councillor Ken Maddock, said: “We put together a fantastic bid for the money and that is reflected in the amount we won and our prominence nationally.”

“We are already working on the project and are committed to making this one of the most important priorities over the next few years for this council.”

Wells MP Tessa Munt, who represents Burnham, Highbridge and Cheddar, said: “It is so important that Somerset doesn’t fall behind – slow connection speeds hamper business development and hold back everyone’s chances to share in the advantages offered by better broadband.

“Now the hard work starts to ensure the funding is spent wisely but quickly to improve the connection speeds in our area. Somerset has a chance to thrive economically now and in the future.”

More from Weston Mercury

The English National Ballet will bring its Swan Lake performance to the West Country – and the Mercury is giving readers a chance to win tickets to see the show.

Read more

An East Brent play park will receive a five-figure upgrade to improve facilities for children in the village.

Read more

The collected 30 something’s were partying like it was 2002 at Bristol’s SWX on Friday as post punk rockers A returned to Bristol to play the whole of their seminal album Hi-Fi Serious.

Read more

More than £200,000 has been spent by North Somerset Council on redundancy payments in 18 months.

Read more

The plan to join up a walking and cycling route from Brean to Clevedon has moved a step closer.

Read more

Venture into the wizarding world with the latest remake of one of J K Rowling’s books.

Read more

A woman who has vowed to complete 40 outdoor swims in her 40th year is just three challenges away from hitting her target.

Read more
Yesterday, 17:37

Homemade crafts and items were sold in aid of one of Weston’s best-loved sites.

Read more
Yesterday, 17:00

A determined Weston woman has completed a gruelling seven-month swimming challenge to raise money for Weston Hospicecare in memory of her partner’s mum.

Read more
Weston Hospicecare Weston-super-Mare
Yesterday, 16:00

The fun and fervour of this year’s carnival may only just have begun to die down, but 50 years ago attention focussed on bringing the event back to Weston’s streets.

Read more

Most Read News

Read Online

Read the Weston Worle and Somerset Mercury e-edition E-edition

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 10°C

min temp: 4°C

Useful Links

Advertise in the paper
Submit a Story
Subscribe to the paper
Send Your Letters
Order Photos
Family notices
Reader Travel

Family Notices 24

Newsletter Sign Up

Weston Mercury twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Show Job Lists