Hundreds of homes and businesses in North Devon and Torridge are set to benefit from a huge roll out of full fibre broadband investment.

Bideford, Ilfracombe, Lynton, Northam and South Molton have all been named as beneficiaries in Openreach’s largest ever expansion in the South West and beyond.

Openreach said work is expected to get under way in many of the announced locations within the next 12-18 months although, due to the size of the build, some places will see work continue into 2024.

The new South West locations are part of a wider announcement to make the new technology available to a further 3.2 million premises in the UK’s hardest to reach ‘final third’.

The build is at the forefront of a massive £12 billion investment, which will see Openreach’s ambition to build ‘full fibre’ infrastructure to 20 million premises throughout the UK by the mid-to-late 2020s.

A report commissioned by Openreach has revealed that connecting everyone in the South West to ‘full fibre’ broadband by 2025 would create a £4.3 billion boost to the region’s economy.

The report also revealed that more than 42,000 people across the South West could be brought back into the workforce through enhanced connectivity. This could include roles in small businesses and entrepreneurs – as well as allowing thousands more people to work remotely.

Openreach CEO Clive Selley said: “This year we’ve all seen the importance of having a decent broadband connection and at Openreach, we’re convinced that full Fibre technology can underpin the UK’s economic recovery.

“Right now, we’re building a new, ultra-reliable full fibre network that will boost productivity, cut commuting and carbon emissions and connect our families, public services and businesses for decades to come. It’s Ofcom’s proposals that give us the right conditions to build commercially in the hardest to reach areas.

“We’re determined to find inventive engineering solutions and effective partnership funding models to reduce costs and enable us to connect as many communities as possible across the UK without public subsidy.”

“Openreach is leading the charge to help the Government achieve its target of making gigabit capable networks available nationwide by 2025. And we hope that by publishing our own plans, we can help ensure that taxpayers only fund connections in communities that really need public support.”

More information about full fibre and its availability can be found at https://www.openreach.com/fibre-broadband/ .