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More than 56,000 homes and businesses in Somerset are to finally get superfast broadband by 2024.

Connecting Devon and Somerset (CDS), was set up in 2011 to deliver superfast fibre broadband to rural areas where it would not be commercially viable.

But the council-run scheme has been dogged by delays and in 2018 contractor Gigaclear’s contract was terminated.

CDS has now confirmed that three different companies will undertake the remainder of the roll-out.  Around £80m will be invested in the next phase of the CDS scheme.

The three new contractors include Worcester-based Airband, Bath-based Truespeed and Wessex Internet which is based in Dorset.

All three companies are expected to start work in the coming weeks, with all properties expected to be connected by 2024.

Truespeed Internet will handle all outstanding premises in North Somerset (including Weston-super-Mare), Bath and North East Somerset, Mendip (including the villages around Frome, Glastonbury, Shepton Mallet, Street and Wells), and the remaining parts of Sedgemoor (including rural areas around Burnham-On-Sea, Cheddar and Highbridge).

Councillor David Hall, from Somerset County Council, said the “three well-established, regionally-based suppliers” have “significant experience” of delivering broadband connections in rural areas.

“They have an understanding of the remote areas where CDS is looking to improve connectivity,” he said.

“This investment will deliver full fibre broadband ahead of many other parts of the country.”

Karl Tucker, from the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership, told the BBC it was “good news”.

“It has never been more vital than it is now to ensure our communities and businesses have access to good connectivity and the three companies all have extensive experience of working in our area,” he said.

 

 
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