Exmoor National Park Authority is committed to supporting communities access superfast broadband as soon as possible, by working with and supporting the Connecting Devon and Somerset project. National Government has set the current targets:
- 90% of premises having the option of Superfast Broadband by the end of 2016
- 95% of premises having the option of Superfast Broadband by the end of 2017
- There is no national policy yet on the 'final 5 %' although locally there is an ambition to have 100% of premises having the option of Superfast Broadband by 2020. 10 trials have been commissioned nationally to pilot alternative technologies to reach this final 5% with 1 trial taking place on Exmoor.
Given the challenging topography, deep rurality and sparsity of population the percentage of premises with access to superfast Broadband will be lower within the National Park versus national targets and so the National Park Authority is committed to working with others to increase network coverage.
Progress to date
- Phase 1 of the Connecting Devon and Somerset (CDS) project (delivered by BT using fibre to the cabinet) will deliver superfast broadband access to an estimated 60% of premises within the National Park by the end of 2016. Working with CDS we have secured over £700,000 additional funding through the Rural Community Broadband Fund (1 of just 2 successful applications) to extend the reach in this phase to 69% of premises within the National Park. For information on coverage of this phase please visit www.connectingdevonandsomerset.co.uk.
- The National Park Authority has worked with CDS and contributed match funding to Phase 2 of Connecting Devon and Somerset with a dedicated programme utilsing wireless technology delivered by Airband to provide further superfast broadband coverage across Exmoor and Dartmoor National Parks reaching an estimated 95% of premises by the end of 2017 (the majority of delivery is currently expected in 2016). In addition access to speeds in the region of 10mbs will be offered to remaining premises.
A series of 6 community briefings were arranged in the winter of 2015/16 to provide background to the scheme. Read the Community briefing here (PDF).
Latest update - October 2016: The deployment of transmitters has commenced on Exmoor with some premises now able to receive a service using the Airband system. Further masts have already been erected and others are being installed weekly. A few sites still require landowner agreement and / or planning consents. Households and Parish Councils will be contacted as and when a service is available in your area.
The Authority has worked closely with Airband to find the best locations for the transmitters to provide good coverage with minimal impact on the special qualities of the National Park. We agreed a Planning Protocol and have recently developed installation guidance (PDF)which shows how an Airband antenna can be installed on your premises while respecting the special qualities of the National Park.
- Exmoor also hosted two pilot areas as part of the 'Superfast Satellite 4 Communities' project delivered by Satellite Internet Ltd. This was 1 of 8 successful projects funded through the Government's 'Broadband Innovation Fund' to test the technology and user experience / uptake testing the use and uptake of a new superfast satellite / Wi-Fi mesh system to inform future plans for delivering to harder to reach communities in the 'final 5%. The National Park hosted two pilot areas in the parishes of Luxborough and Exmoor.
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