The pandemic has further highlighted how important broadband or a good digital connection is in North Devon. Long before Covid, Selaine Saxby MP met with Clive Selley, CEO of Openreach, to work on a plan for further help in North Devon, above and beyond what had already been proposed and achieved by Connecting Devon and Somerset.
Since then areas like Ash Mill, Kings Nympton, Tawstock, parts of Barnstaple, Newton Tracey and Braunton have all received extra attention from the Openreach team. The biggest and most challenging project has been the complete rollout of “Fibre To The Premises” in Lynton and Lynmouth which last week hit the 50% complete stage.
This upgrade in one of the most isolated, rural and coastal communities in Devon will be a huge boost to the local economy and help everyone living in the area to be well connected to the rest of the world.
Selaine Saxby MP for North Devon said:
“I am committed to ensuring North Devon gets the broadband and digital connectivity we deserve. It was one of my key pledges before I was elected, and I reiterated that pledge in my maiden speech. I am the Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Broadband and Digital Connectivity to achieve this and help other rural areas get the connected. I am delighted that Openreach have been proactive in North Devon and are not only delivering this incredible investment in Lynton and Lynmouth but are helping other problematic areas.
“A fixed line solution will not be the appropriate measure for every property in North Devon and I know it is frustrating but the upgrades we need are not going to happen as quickly as everyone would like. I once again urge every small and medium sized community struggling with broadband connectivity to look at Community Fibre Partnerships.”
Andy Whale, Openreach’s Chief Engineer said:
“We’re making great progress here in Lynton and Lynmouth, and our Full Fibre build has continued despite the obvious challenges. As well as keeping people connected using our existing network, our engineers have continued building the new infrastructure to make sure that as lockdown restrictions ease, we can support families, businesses and the economic recovery.
“I’d encourage everyone who can to upgrade to the new technology and take advantage of the many benefits. Full Fibre is more reliable and more resilient, meaning fewer faults and more predictable, consistent speeds. It’s also ‘future-proof’ as we expect it to easily meet the growing data demands of future technologies for decades to come. Use the fibre checker on our website to check your postcode to see if Full Fibre is available.”
Cllr Dave Harding, Lynton and Lynmouth Town Council, said:
“I am delighted that the people of Lynton and Lynmouth can access ultrafast broadband and all the benefits it can bring to businesses and communities. Throughout the pandemic it has been abundantly clear that faster and more reliable broadband is absolutely paramount and will continue to be essential as we move forward into our “new normal”.
“I welcome the opportunities that increased broadband speeds will bring and would encourage people who can access it to talk to their internet providers about taking advantage of the new ultrafast speeds that are now available.”