Wednesday, 31 August 2016
Connecting Devon and Somerset Update
Phase Two Procurement
In July Connecting Devon and Somerset partnership (CDS) issued its open tender to
extend the superfast broadband scheme in Phase Two. £39.5m of public sector investment
will deliver Next Generation Access broadband services (a minimum of 30 Mbps) and
ultrafast broadband (of speeds greater than 100 Mbps) to tens of thousands of homes
and businesses across Devon and Somerset in predominantly rural areas.
The overall investment figure is anticipated to rise as successful tenderers will be expected
provide further capital investment in the programme. Potential suppliers will set out their
plan to connect as many people as possible for the available budget by the end of 2017, and
CDS will have confirmed a contract and plan by the end of this year.
Divided into six bidding lots to encourage greater competition from a broader range of
providers and technologies, the phase two intervention area is comprised of premises that
have received no superfast Next Generation Access under Phase One, are outside of central
urban areas that CDS are encouraging to be served by the market, and have not been identified
in the OMR as part of a private commercial rollout.
The taxpayer-subsidised CDS programme has focused Phase Two on rural areas and as such
provided contractual incentive to suppliers to deliver step changes in speeds; benefitting those
who need it most.
This second phase builds on the success of Phase One of the publically-funded CDS programme
and comes after our milestone announcement connecting a quarter of a million premises to
superfast broadband. This means CDS remains well on track to meet its target of connecting
around 275,000 premises to superfast broadband by the end of 2016, as agreed with the
The new tender builds on the Phase Two National Parks programme already underway in our
most difficult to reach areas of Dartmoor and Exmoor. CDS will have by the end of 2016
delivered superfast speeds to around 5,800 premises across the moors, boosting the rural
Airband Community Ltd, the wireless broadband contractor for Dartmoor and Exmoor National
Parks, have concluded their network testing on Dartmoor and have begun to roll out the service
to selected communities on an incremental basis. The build on Dartmoor is expected to be
complete by the early autumn. Meanwhile on Exmoor the network is being installed and we
hope to be able to announce the first connections there in the early autumn.
The CDS Broadband Voucher Scheme, which provides anyone with a broadbandspeed of less
than 2 Mbps with a voucher for £500 towards the cost of a new broadband connection, has
received in excess of 2,000 applications. Of theseover 1,500 have been approved and the first installations have already beencompleted. 13 suppliers have joined the scheme with more in the pipeline.
Further details can be found on the CDS website at:
The CDS team
Monday, 29 August 2016
Now we are all aware of the precarious state that public houses are in at the moment, with horrendous numbers closing weekly (so we are told), so many of those still surviving are taking steps to keep their regular drinkers happy so that they will continue to support their local. We all support our local as much as possible, despite the rising costs.
Unfortunately, it would appear that this is not the case in our quiet and peaceful village. Many of the villagers around and in the near vicinity of the pub dread the coming of Bank Holidays for the loud intrusive music from the pub that invariably accompanies these holidays.
For some reason, the landlords, Sarah and Ted, have got it into their heads that if they provide music, of whatever standard, folk will flock to the pub and they will be able to make ends meet. The flaw with this, as has been shown at our pub, is that they get people from outside the village who come to hear the music, drink and then don’t come back, while the villagers who are the mainstay of trade, stay away. This is because many of the bands who play are lacking in musical talent and to cover this they turn their amplifiers up to maximum and disturb the peace. There’s no point in sitting in our gardens during Bank Holiday evenings!
Having said that, there are times when the pub does put on good music. The monthly Acoustic Night on the third Sunday evening in the month is always well supported and the pub is full. The musicians are helped by minimal amplification, only to raise the volume over the general hubbub in the pub.
When the Kit Hillbillies visit, they have their own sound man and always ask if the sound is too loud, as does Johnny Mack and his group when they play (next gig November!).
For the last two Bank Holidays there has been loud ‘music’ every evening for four nights. This weekend has been a Beer and Burger Festival, which I would have gone to several times in the evening, but not when there is loud music.
I know there are many residents around the pub who can’t stand the loudness and there are others some distance away who find it annoying, so I suggest to them that they do what I have done on both occasions – complain to the Environmental Services at West Devon Borough Council www.westdevon.gov.uk or contact Councillor Robin Musgrave.
I am not against the pub or against music – only that it is played too loudly by people who have little talent. The professionals always ask if it’s too loud! Ours is a peaceful village, that’s why we like it and why we want it to stay that way!