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Exmoor and Dartmoor National Parks boosted by superfast broadband

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Collaboration between Dartmoor and Exmoor National Parks with the Connecting Devon & Somerset programme is set to transform rural communities with superfast fibre broadband internet speeds.

Connecting Devon and Somerset is working in close partnership with Dartmoor and Exmoor National Parks, to achieve additional funding for broadband connectivity as part of the current programme. This has so far resulted in extra funding of over £700,000 to extend coverage for superfast broadband in hard to reach communities across the two parks with speeds of up to 24mbps.

Once engineering work is completed by the Connecting Devon and Somerset programme, more than three quarters of all premises in Dartmoor and 69 percent in Exmoor will be given the opportunity to sign on by the end of 2016. This has been made possible by the additional funding secured by the Connecting Devon and Somerset partnership and the support of Devon and Somerset County Councils.

In addition, two harder to reach rural communities in Exmoor will have the opportunity to pilot a new superfast broadband scheme using a mix of satellite and wi-fi technology. The project is being led by technology  firm 'Satellite Internet', who were one of eight successful bidders for the Government's Broadband Innovation Fund. Satellite Internet is now working with Connecting Devon and Somerset and Exmoor National Park Authority to pilot the new patented wireless mesh technology within the remotely located communities, who would otherwise not benefit from Superfast Broadband at this current time.

Chief Executive of Exmoor National Park Authority Dr Nigel Stone said: "We are hugely aware of the importance of connecting some of our most rural communities, to benefit both domestic and business interests alike. We have put in significant effort to secure greater superfast broadband coverage throughout Exmoor and we are very pleased that this work is starting to pay off. The partnership we have built with Connecting Devon and Somerset to secure additional funding for these hard to reach areas is something to be proud of. We would like to thank Connecting Devon and Somerset and Devon and Somerset County Councils for their on-going support and co-operation.

Not only have we been able to increase the reach of the current Connecting Devon and Somerset programme, we have also been able to secure a national pilot. This will enable us to bring forward new technologies to improve the situations of those in more remote communities.  We will continue to support the superfast extension programme in an effort to provide further connections in the future."

The funding will bring superfast broadband service within reach of rural communities and businesses based in our National Parks; allowing them to use tools that can improve how they work, improve productivity and reduce costs.

Chief Executive of Dartmoor National Park Authority Kevin Bishop said: "Improved broadband coverage on Dartmoor is a top priority for the National Park Authority.  We have worked hard with the Connecting Devon and Somerset Partnership to achieve improvements on Dartmoor and to secure additional money to extend the existing programme, and connect so-called 'hard to reach areas'.  We recognise how important broadband connectivity is to Dartmoor communities – it is an essential service to help people, work, live, learn and play.

"Much of this work goes unseen; it has taken us over two years to secure the additional money for Dartmoor and Exmoor.  We are pleased that 75% of premises in Dartmoor National Park will benefit from superfast broadband by the end of the current programme, and we will continue to try and find solutions and funding to ensure the remaining hard to reach areas can benefit from this essential service."

For more information on future superfast broadband coverage visit the map on the CDS website (www.connectingdevonandsomerset.co.uk), which also incorporates the coverage secured by additional funding.

Published: 15 December 2014

Contact the press office:

Clare O-Connor
T: 01398 322244
E: CKOConnor@exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk