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 ward. …
All areas should eventually receive full fibre broadband, although more isolated properties may not be covered. Currently, it appears different parts of some areas may be served by more than one provider, as described below (parish names shown in bold). It is worth registering interest with all providers who may serve your 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. Updates are emailed to those registered (update 17 was sent on 12 Jan 2022).
Technological’s network has been funded by the rural Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme, which has closed to applications from properties to be served by the new Airband contract (see below). Technological can serve households on their network who already benefit from voucher funding or who pay for a commercial connection without a Gigabit voucher (see towards the end of the page at this link).
There are some small gaps in Technological’s network, some of which they hope to cover with new Gigabit vouchers if given permission by Connecting Devon and Somerset. Requests to allow this are being pursued, with negotiations continuing. Public funding should not be provided for a second broadband network in an area, so a resolution is expected.
Gigaclear – completing their Croford Network outside Wiveliscombe
As a legacy from their previous Connecting Devon and Somerset contract, Gigaclear have completed their Croford fibre network, serving a linear path from Langley Marsh through Croford to Spring Grove. This went live at the end of 2021. Most of those on this network can now arrange a connection. To place an order or register your interest visit Gigaclear and start by checking availability using your postcode.
Airband – new contract for rural parishes
At the end of 2020, Connecting Devon and Somerset (CDS) 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.
In our ward, Airband’s contract includes all or parts of the parishes of Ashbrittle, Bathealton, Brompton Ralph, Chipstable, Clatworthy, Fitzhead, Stawley and some properties just within or close to Wiveliscombe.
There have been delays in the Airband rollout. Their expected completion dates (as updated on 21 July 2022) are now:
- Spring 2023 – Fitzhead.
- Winter 2023 – Parts of Bradford on Tone, Langford Budville, Nynehead, Oake, Sampford Arundel, Wellington Without and the outskirts of Milverton.
- Winter 2024 – Appley, Ashbrittle, Bathealton, Chipstable, Greenham, Raddington, Stawley, Tracebridge, Waterrow and some areas south of Wiveliscombe (including Coles Terrace, Culverhead, Nordens Meadow and parts of West Road and West Street).
- Winter 2024 – Parts of Brompton Ralph and Clatworthy.
However, some more isolated properties in these areas may not be within the CDS contract. Check availability for your address at Airband and register your interest. You should be in contract if listed as part of the CDS funded project, although this is subject to survey.
It is worth registering interest if shown as being close to Airband’s main broadband network, although this means that you are not part of the CDS contract. For some in this situation, Airband may be able to use Gigabit vouchers to cover installation costs to you when rolling out their new networks.
As Technological already provide a publicly-funded network in Chipstable and Clatworthy, Airband’s role in these areas may become more limited, but this is to be confirmed.
Openreach – Brompton Ralph cluster
Connecting Devon and Somerset have awarded a contract to Openreach for a small network to cover parts of Brompton Ralph, including Pitsford Hill, Tarr, Sticklepath and other areas north of Wiveliscombe. Design plans for this cluster have been submitted to CDS for approval, but there is not yet a build date for this network. Register interest with Openreach.
Openreach – Wiveliscombe and other areas
Some areas are already served by fibre to their local cabinet in the road, although not yet with fibre then on to homes and businesses. This includes most of Halse, Milverton and Wiveliscombe.
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 have to wait for details on their local plans to see how far this actually extends from the exchange. Also some parts may be covered by Airband or others first. Visit Openreach’s website to register interest and for information on their other broadband services.
Other fibre progress
There have been examples of other fibre connections in the ward, notably a commercial connection by Openreach to a property, which also allowed a service to be provided to some others in Huish Champflower.
Other broadband options
Mobile or wireless 4G broadband can be provided in some areas lacking a reasonable broadband service, with a number of providers, including Airband and EE. Some are using this as an interim option until full fibre broadband is available.
Mobile Boost Voucher Scheme
To improve mobile phone calls, Connecting Devon and Somerset offer a Mobile Boost Voucher Scheme, which can pay to upgrade indoor 4G coverage in ‘not-spot’ areas. This scheme will be open until December 2022.
ORIGINAL POST: 18 Sept 2021 – UPDATED: 11 March 2022, 1 Sept 2022