Full fibre broadband services and plans for Wiveliscombe and neighbouring rural parishes are continuing to develop, with varying levels of progress being made by providers throughout the Wivey area.
Technological – going live in the Brendon Hills
Most local progress has been made by Technological. This local company have built a live full fibre network from Shillingford to Skilgate, Upton, Huish Champflower and Chipstable, including Raddington and Waterrow. Work is in progress on extending to Clatworthy.
Technological’s network has been funded by the rural Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme, which has closed to new applications. Technological can only serve households who have applied for this voucher funding. There are small gaps in their network, some of which they hope to cover if given permission by Connecting Devon and Somerset.
There is a new Project Gigabit voucher scheme, but this is more restricted and does not offer the same opportunities in our area.
Gigaclear – completing their Croford Network outside Wiveliscombe
As a legacy from their previous Connecting Devon and Somerset contract, Gigaclear have been working to complete their Croford fibre network, serving a linear path from Langley Marsh through Croford to Spring Grove. They expect to finally go live before the end of October 2021, but cannot commit to this yet and are not planning to extend this network further. This is expected to be the only fibre broadband provided for this area – register your interest with Gigaclear.
Airband – surveying rural parishes
At the end of last year, Connecting Devon and Somerset awarded an open access contract to Airband to increase full fibre broadband coverage in Somerset West and Taunton, with delivery in phases from 2021 to 2024. Airband have supplied the following on their current progress in the Wivey area:
- Fitzhead is currently (Sept 2021) at the survey and design stage.
- Bathealton – work is due to start this winter (2021/22).
- Ashbrittle, Brompton Ralph and Stawley – work to start in the spring of 2023.
If you live in these parishes, I advise checking availability and registering your interest with Airband.
Openreach – Wiveliscombe plans
Following a change in Ofcom price cap rules on connection costs, Openreach announced plans in May 2021 to upgrade telephone exchanges and extend full fibre broadband to 20 million premises, including hard to serve communities in the South West. Online information says that the Wiveliscombe exchange area (shown in map) will be covered between April 2021 and December 2026. We may have to wait for more details on their local plans and some parts of the area may be covered by Airband. See their website for information on their other broadband services.
Other fibre progress
There have been examples of other fibre connections in the ward, notably by Openreach to a property in Clatworthy, which has also allowed a service to be provided to some properties in Huish Champflower. An Openreach build has been planned in Brompton Ralph, although there appear to be some doubts and Airband may now connect here.