May 27, 2011
to get super-fast broadband as Somerset wins cash bid
broadband looks set to be introduced in Burnham-On-Sea within
four years after Somerset was today (Friday, May 27th) named as
the winner of a highly competitive battle for a share of a £50m
Government investment treasure chest.
County Council has been told its joint bid to connect businesses
and homes across the south west - including Burnham-On-Sea - was
the biggest winner.
Somerset, North Somerset and Devon councils will share a £31m
payout to bring superfast broadband to hundreds of thousands of
businesses and rural communities.
Somerset County Council is also putting in up to £10m of
its own money and a project team will now begin a process to involve
a private company to invest in a project that could add tens of
millions more to the total spending pot.
"This is fantastic news and a measure of how important the
Government sees broadband for Somerset and Devon," said County
Council Cabinet member David Hall.
funding means we can start bringing superfast broadband speeds
to the majority of the county in just a few years."
A total of 5,000 residents and businesses supported the bid which
was also backed by Burnham-On-Sea's MP, Tessa Munt.
Tessa told Burnham-On-Sea.com: "This is excellent news for
the Burnham area. Having faster, more reliable broadband will
benefit businesses and residents. It should also particularly
help in rural areas where current broadband coverage is poor."
Highbridge County Councillor John Woodman added: "It's great
news for businesses in the area - I am sure that many will benefit
from this in the years to come. A lot of work has been done to
secure this funding by the County Council and I think it's marvellous
that we will be getting the biggest share with Devon."
The aim is to bring broadband to 100% of homes across Somerset
by 2015 with 85% of houses able to receive superfast speeds.
The governments £50m pot was shared with two other
councils Wiltshire was awarded £4m and Norfolk gained
£15m but the big winners were Somerset and Devon.
"We put together a fantastic bid for the money and that
is reflected in the amount we won and our prominence nationally,"
said Somerset County Council Leader Ken Maddock.
"We are already working on the project and are committed
to making this one of the most important priorities over the next
few years for this Council."
It is expected that Somerset's project will get formally underway
in July 2012 once a private sector partner has been signed up.
Pictured: Burnham's MP, Tessa Munt, who backed the bid for
cash, visiting a UK Online computing event at the town's youth