Further support to be requested from local MPs and Exeter Diocese

East Devon District Council’s Scrutiny Committee has welcomed the hard work and progress made by the Talaton Broadband Committee, which has sought to find a local solution to the poor broadband speeds experienced by users in the area.   

East Devon District Council’s Scrutiny Committee has welcomed the hard work and progress made by the Talaton Broadband Committee, which has sought to find a local solution to the poor broadband speeds experienced by users in the area.   

At a meeting of Scrutiny on 22 March 2018, councillors congratulated the Talaton Broadband Committee on their successful work with Voneus to bring about improved broadband in their area.

The Broadband Committee has worked with and signed up 120 residents to the Connecting Devon and Somerset voucher scheme. With infrastructure in place at the Exeter Science Park, Talaton residents are now experiencing broadband speeds of 20 to 25MB/s.

Since its formation in 2013, the Connecting Devon and Somerset programme has been working to bring broadband to some of the hardest to reach rural communities in England. The programme has achieved this by awarding public subsidised contracts to companies through competitive tender to build the infrastructure needed.

The current voucher scheme is, however, currently closed, and a review of the scheme has been underway since the coverage plans for Phase 2 was confirmed. An announcement on the future of the scheme is anticipated shortly.

In the meantime, a mailing list has been set up for anyone interested in the future of the scheme and individuals on this list will be updated in parallel with the wider press announcements.

Anyone interested in receiving updates should email: broadbandvoucher-mailbox@devon.gov.uk

At the end of the meeting, members of Scrutiny made the following recommendations:

1.           That Cabinet recommend to Council that a letter be sent to all local MPs seeking their support to help secure superfast broadband provision for all communities no matter how rural.

2.           That the council promotes to local parish and town councils the options available to them including the CDS voucher scheme, when it is open again, fixed wireless solutions and the recent success of the Talaton Broadband Committee.

3.           That a letter be sent to the Exeter Diocese asking for their continued support using church premises in providing the infrastructure necessary for a broadband solution for rural parishes.

Cllr Roger Giles, the chairman of East Devon’s scrutiny committee, said:

The provision of reasonable broadband speeds is vitally important in East Devon for residents and businesses. There is a particular problem in some smaller rural communities and the Scrutiny Committee is very keen to overcome this by promoting the excellent Talaton self-help example and to be innovative by, for instance, working with church authorities. Many rural communities with poor broadband speed do have church towers, which could possibly be used to achieve a much better service.