£94 Million superfast Broadband Programme in Devon and Somerset

Michelmores has advised the Connecting Devon and Somerset Programme on a £94 million project to transform broadband speeds for businesses and residents across Devon and Somerset within the next four years.

Michelmores was appointed by Connecting Devon and Somerset following a tender exercise to act as its principal legal adviser. Rehman Noormohamed, Partner and head of Michelmores’ Technology, Media & Communications group has led the Michelmores team throughout advising contractual matters, telecoms regulatory issues, EU public procurement regulatory and EU state aid compliance issues. Rehman has also worked closely with Broadband Delivery UK (part of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport) as a member of the BDUK core team helping to develop and finalise the contractual documentation which underpins BDUK’s national superfast broadband programme.

Connecting Devon and Somerset has agreed a deal with BT which aims to deliver high-speed fibre broadband to around 90 per cent of premises by the end of 2016 and to ensure a minimum of 2Mbps broadband speeds for all – making this one of the best connected areas in the UK.

Most of the programme area will receive Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC), where the fibre runs from the telephone exchange as far as the nearest BT street cabinet. It can deliver download speeds of up to 80Mbps and upload speeds of up to 20Mbps.

Fibre to the Premises (FTTP), where the fibre runs all the way to the home or business and which can deliver the top current download speed of 330Mbps,4 will also be available in certain areas. In addition, from Spring 2013, BT aims to make FTTP technology commercially available on demand5 in any area where fibre broadband has been deployed, should local businesses want the ultra-fast speeds it offers.

Bill Murphy, Managing Director, Next Generation Broadband from BT Group, added: “This project is vital to the future economic strength of the heart of the South West. Reliable access to broadband is an integral part of 21st Century living. It’s much more than streaming video and music or online shopping: it’s increasingly the way business is conducted and services are delivered. It will enable businesses to compete on a level footing regardless of location – making Devon and Somerset a more attractive proposition for business re-locations and start-ups – including the creation of new, high-tech jobs.

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