North Devon MP welcomes Ultrafast Broadband investment

Selaine Saxby and Clive Selley, CEO of Openreach, in Barnstaple pre-covid

Selaine Saxby and Clive Selley, CEO of Openreach, in Barnstaple pre-covid when they first discussed digital infrastructure investment in North Devon - Credit: David Hoare

Openreach have announced plans to build ultrafast, ultra-reliable Full Fibre broadband to at least three million more homes and businesses across the UK, including 25,871 premises in North Devon.

This new figure is in addition to existing coverage or planned build from other Openreach programmes, Community Fibre Partnerships or government funded programmes such as Connecting Devon and Somerset.

This move – which follows an extended investment commitment by the BT Group – means Openreach will now build Full Fibre technology to a total of 25 million premises by an earlier deadline of December 2026.

Of this at least 6.2 million will be built via their commercially funded programme that focuses on the toughest to reach locations.

This will create a total of 7,000 new jobs across Openreach and their supply chain, helping accelerate the deployment of world class digital infrastructure across the UK. Since 2017, Openreach has announced 9,000 apprentice jobs.

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The Centre for Business and Economic Research (CEBR) shows that the national rollout can deliver up to £59 billion in GVA; also enabling more than one million to access or return to employment through flexible working – including those with caring or parenting responsibilities and older workers.

The national rollout can also help cut carbon emissions by reducing the need for commuter journeys and could see 500,000 people move out of densely populated areas, potentially boosting rural economies.

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Selaine Saxby, MP for North Devon, said: “This welcome investment will bring Ultrafast Broadband to Barnstaple, Braunton, Combe Martin, Croyde, Instow and Swimbridge. This is on top of other schemes and companies investing in North Devon’s digital infrastructure. We also have more excellent Community Fibre Partnerships moving forward in places like Chulmleigh and Morthoe. Indeed, in working with Western Power Distribution in Mortehoe, the local community have also arranged to hopefully see the removal of 29 telegraph poles in the AONB.”

“As Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Broadband and Digital Communication I am delighted that the broadband rollout is moving forward at pace, across the country and particularly, here in North Devon. With flexible and remote working rapidly increasing, North Devon has to be ready to capitalise and adapt.”

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