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Devon and Somerset broadband scheme backed by 15,000 people
The Connecting Devon and Somerset broadband initiative has won support from over 15,000 people.More than 15,000 consumers and businesses have backed the call for improved broadband access in south-west England by registering their support for the Connecting Devon and Somerset initiative.
The campaign was launched earlier this year in a bid to illustrate the levels of demand for super-fast broadband access in the West Country, with the organisers originally hoping to receive at least 10,000 responses.
It is hoped that by generating such a high level of interest, the project will encourage a private sector telecoms firm to lend its own support to Connecting Devon and Somerset by investing in the initiative and carrying out the necessary infrastructure improvement work.
As of 08:30 GMT on Wednesday (March 14th 2012), 15,278 people had completed the online and telephone surveys launched as part of the scheme.
David Hall, Somerset County Council's cabinet member for strategic planning and economic development, expressed his delight that so many residents and businesses have got involved in the project by finishing the questionnaires.
"If we can evidence really strong demand for super-fast broadband across Devon and Somerset, then we will be a much more attractive proposition for private sector investment in the network," he said.
"We are keeping the telephone line and internet survey open into the summer."
Connecting Devon and Somerset aims to extend minimum speeds of 2Mbps to every home and business in the two counties by 2015, with super-fast capabilities for 85 per cent of properties. By 2020, it is expected that next-generation broadband will be available to all premises in Devon and Somerset.
At present, almost one-fifth of properties in the area are stuck with speeds of less than 2Mbps, according to the latest Ofcom figures.
The project has been allocated £31.32 million of funding from government agency Broadband Delivery UK, while both county councils have committed to investing £10 million.