South Hams and West Devon Council have jointly funded a two year Community Broadband Project to help drive broadband provision in areas with poor connectivity. It is being run by Gemma Bristow at West Devon BC, who writes:
‘Broadband provision in West Devon is ranked one of the worst in the country, partly due to our dispersed rural communities and the challenging topography of the landscape. During the pandemic digital connectivity has been proven to be critical and a lifeline for all. Communities are heavily reliant on digital apps and online services for their healthcare support, businesses fight for their survival through online sales and those who are isolated turn to the internet for a social connection with their communities. We need to ensure our rural communities are not left behind in this digital age. This project will help residents and businesses to navigate what has become a highly complex system of broadband suppliers and providers, and Government subsidy schemes.
We have now established contacts with the main organisations and broadband industry so are ready to publicise the project within the community. We are inviting people to get in touch if they are looking for better broadband and people willing to be community champions to drive broadband provision within their community areas. We are directing all contact via the new broadband webpage and online contacts form in the first instance so we can build this database.
The intention will be to identify community champions in areas with poor connectivity outside of any existing fibre rollout plans and assist them in establishing if the interest in their area will make a viable fibre group. I also imagine a lot of enquires will be helping residents and businesses to understand what options they have, and hopefully identifying when a supplier will be bringing fibre to their area.
We are currently contacting all Members and Parish and Town Councils to spread the word, before we then look to other communications channels. This is going to remain an evolving project, so will no doubt need to adapt as we identify what the community needs are. Please also get in touch if you think there are gaps in the webpages, or project in general as it progresses.
We invite people to enter their details at the link below if they would like faster or more reliable broadband.’