DEVON and Somerset have been selected as the location of one of eight potential pilot projects to bring superfast broadband to the hardest to reach areas across the country.
Satellite Internet, a specialist satellite Internet Service Provider has secured £175,125 after a successful bid to the Government’s £10 million Broadband Innovation Fund.
The company specialises in bringing satellite to homes and businesses in rural and hard-to- reach areas all over the UK and Eire.
Their successful application was in competition with 38 other bids to test innovative new fixed wireless and satellite technologies.
Announced in December 2013, the Broadband Innovation Fund was set up to explore how alternative technologies could reach areas where extending the fibre network might not be cost effective.
These extremely rural locations represent the final 5% of premises across the UK not already covered by the BDUK Superfast Britain programme.
Before the areas for trial can be selected, Satellite Internet will undertake a research phase in partnership with Connecting Devon and Somerset.
If the Government decide that the pilot is feasible, deployment is due to begin in September 2014.
The company will use KA-band satellite for local wireless networks and direct to the customer equipment to bring superfast broadband to the hardest to reach pilot areas Mike Locke, Satellite Internet’s Managing Director said: "We’re very pleased to be working with Connecting Devon and Somerset to carry out the pilot project for the DCMS/BDUK Innovation Fund.
"We know from our customers in the region how important good broadband is for their daily life both business and domestic.
"Our project with Connecting Devon and Somerset will pilot new satellite technology to connect more people to Superfast in the most remote areas and share those results with broadband projects all over the country.”
Councillor David Hall, Deputy Leader of Somerset County Council, said: “It is great news for Devon and Somerset that we are one of only eight areas selected as a pilot location.
"We are determined that our hardest to reach areas will not miss out on the business and social benefits that access to superfast broadband will bring.
"If we get the go ahead in September, the scheme with Satellite Internet will build on the work already being undertaken by Connecting Devon and Somerset to look at how we can bring new technological solutions to reach our final 5%.”
Councillor Andrew Leadbetter, Cabinet Member for Economy and Growth for Devon County Council, said: “Connecting Devon and Somerset is working hard to bring superfast broadband to our rural areas. Our application to secure the £22.75 million further funding that will help us reach 95% of premises by the end of 2017 will be submitted at the end of this month.
"There is no doubt that we need innovative technologies to help us reach our most rural areas and we are pleased that the Government has agreed with us.”
More information on Connecting Devon and Somerset can be found at the website: www.connectingdevonandsomerset.co.uk