Neil Parish MP chairs Public Meeting on Rural Broadband in Devon

Neil Parish MP, Rebecca Pow and Graham Long.

Neil Parish, MP for Tiverton and Honiton, chaired a public meeting at Upottery Manor rooms on Friday 6th February to discuss the state of rural broadband in Devon. At this meeting were residents and Parish Councillors from across Devon and Somerset.

Speaking at this event were Cllr Andrew Leadbetter, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Economy and Growth, Paul Coles from BT, Graham Long of Upottery Parish Council and Cllr Ross Henley of Somerset County Council.

Commenting on the meeting Neil said:

“It was a constructive meeting and allowed us to question those organisations responsible for the rollout of broadband and to hold them to account.”

The Connecting Devon and Somerset (CDS) Programme is on track to deliver superfast broadband to 90% of premises across the Devon and Somerset area by the end of 2016, up from 64% overall when the programme began.  The programme is supported by a £32 million investment from Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK).

Connecting Devon and Somerset and its partners have raised £19.167 million towards extending superfast broadband coverage in Devon and Somerset. This means that alongside confirmed matched funding from Government, the CDS programme now has a further £38.334 million to invest, the largest of any superfast broadband programme in the UK.

CDS will publish its procurement tender for potential delivery partners for the next stage of the rollout, to extend superfast broadband coverage as far as possible in Devon and Somerset with the aim of getting to 100% coverage by 2020.

Neil Parish has met with the Minister Ed Vaizey along with Cllr Leadbetter from Devon County Council and Cllr David Hall from Somerset County Council as they are the cabinet members responsible for the broadband rollout. This was a meeting on the challenges faced by Devon and Somerset in connecting rural areas.

As a member of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee Neil has taken part in an inquiry into rural broadband provision. The Committee has now published its report. For more information please visit the Committee’s website: http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/environment-food-and-rural-affairs-committee/inquiries/parliament-2010/rural-broadband-digital-only-services/.