Last week local MP, Selaine Saxby, joined parish councillors, County Councillor Richard Edgell and Openreach engineers in Kings Nympton to splice the final fibre optic cable bringing gigabit broadband to the village and making it one of the fastest places to access the internet in the whole of Devon.
“Broadband is not always seen as vital infrastructure. If lockdown has taught us anything it must be that it is! We have to ensure everyone has access to good connectivity.
“After getting Brexit done, broadband was the main issue brought up on doorsteps during last year’s General Election campaign. Finally, it feels like we are starting to get somewhere in North Devon!”
One of the many ways that communities can help themselves is through what is called a Community Fibre Partnership (CFP). Some Parishes have looked at this process but Kings Nympton have just completed it. Selaine was delighted to join the Parish Council and Openreach to splice the final fibre to connect the village.
Selaine also said:
“Kings Nympton have faced delays which is why I, having been lobbied myself, lobbied Openreach to get this upgrade done now! What they have created is a blueprint for what other communities can do. The process can take some time to organise, but importantly, as long as enough households in the community commit to signing up to Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) and use their “Gigabit voucher”, the whole connection does not cost a thing. 138 properties in Kings Nympton now have the fastest broadband capability and importantly nearby villages and properties can be connected faster and at less cost.“
Kings Nympton Parish Council Chairman, Adrian Lake, said:
“As Chairman of Kings Nympton Parish Council, I was delighted with the response received from our local businesses and residents when BT Openreach confirmed we were over subscribed for the FTTP government funding scheme.
The journey was fraught with teething problems, however the tenacity of our project leader combined with the help of Selaine Saxby MP, resulted in the appointment of a new Open Reach installation team. The progress made by this team was tremendous, resulting in our connectivity being achieved by the end of August 2020 only a matter of months from their initial appointment.
A huge thanks goes to Selaine Saxby our MP for her intervention when we had reached an impasse with Openreach.”
You can find out more about CFPs at https://www.openreach.com/fibre-broadband/community-fibre-partnerships
As well as this, Openreach are some way into connecting Lynton and Lynmouth with FTTP, but they do need more residents to use their vouchers and commit to upgrading when it becomes available. This is important, as while they are connecting 1100 properties, in order to reach the final few hundred on the Lynton exchange in a commercially viable way, they need some commitment from residents. Many people in Lynton and Lynmouth will have received letters encouraging them to sign up.
“Please do sign up. You cannot use the “Gigabit vouchers” for anything else, all you are committing to is that you will upgrade to FTTP with any provider in the near future. The monthly cost increase should not be much, particularly when you may be going from 10mb or less to up to a 300mb download speed.”
Openreach will be upgrading Ilfracombe and South Molton to FTTP in the next 18 months or so and Airband through Connecting Devon and Somerset also have thousands of hard to reach households that they will be connecting as well.
Selaine said further:
“We are not there yet, but we are getting there.
“If you are in a smaller town or village, the best way to get your FTTP sooner rather than later is through a Community Fibre Partnership. Any Parish Clerk or Parish Chair out there who would like any assistance with a CFP please do email me: email@example.com”