There has been a big rise in the number of homes and businesses taking up superfast broadband services thanks to the Connecting Devon and Somerset (CDS) programme.

New figures show that nearly 60% of the 300,000 homes and businesses that CDS has given access to superfast broadband have now taken it up.

The figure is higher than the national average and a 5 per cent increase on the previous quarter, meaning around 180,000 homes and businesses are now using superfast services over new or improved networks funded by CDS.

Around 18,000 more homes and businesses have taken advantage of the new connections in the last quarter. The rise since spring, 2018, is now over 50,000.

To date, CDS has provided access to superfast broadband to more than 300,000 homes and businesses, often in sparsely populated areas and over challenging terrain.

The increasing take-up rate is generating significant additional funds for reinvestment in more superfast broadband coverage thanks to the Government’s gainshare agreement with BT.

A new collaboration between CDS and Openreach, backed by an initial £6 million of gainshare funds aims to extend full fibre superfast coverage to a further 2,000 homes and businesses in the hardest to reach areas of Devon and Somerset.

Cllr David Hall, Somerset County Council Cabinet Member for Economic Development, Planning and Community Infrastructure, said: “It’s great to see more and more people are taking advantage of the faster broadband speeds available thanks to the networks CDS is funding. Digital connectivity is transforming the lives of people in rural areas, boosting our economy and increasing productivity.”

“Broadband coverage provided by CDS in our deeply rural areas is significantly larger than the UK average and we hope this accelerating take up of services will also encourage the commercial sector to invest more in Devon and Somerset’s digital future.”

Anyone who wants to find out if they can get faster broadband and how to do it can use the superfast broadband ‘How and Why’ guide.