Rural broadband rollouts in south of England gather pace

Rural broadband rollouts in south of England gather pace

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Efforts to increase the availability of gigabit-capable full fibre broadband across rural locations in the south of England have received a boost this week, as two alternative network providers revealed more details of their efforts.

In the south-west of the country, Jurassic Fibre, which is working to connect rural properties across Devon, Dorset and Somerset, unveiled the next stage of its plans.

The company is looking to bring fibre connectivity to as many as 350,000 homes and businesses in the region in the coming years, and is set to invest £250 million in order to achieve this.

It has already surpassed 20,000 properties and has now added an additional four locations across Devon and Somerset. These are Barnstaple, Wellington, West Hill and Marsh Green.

Chief executive and founder of Jurassic Fibre Michael Maltby said that by rapidly expanding its network, the company is aiming to "support the vitality and growth of the region’s economy" and ensure rural areas are viable alternatives to big cities as places to live and work.

He added: "The events of 2020 have emphasised the importance of digital connectivity, for homes and businesses, with fast and reliable broadband now needed more than ever for remote working, home-schooling and connecting with others."

Elsewhere, in the south-east of England, Kent-based altnet Trooli has also been working hard to grow its own full fibre network, with the company announcing it has hit a new milestone of connecting 50,000 premises across rural parts of Kent, Hampshire and East Sussex.

This means the provider is two months ahead of its own schedule, which had aimed to reach this mark by the end of the year.

Over the last six months, Trooli has tripled the amount of cable it has laid, from 200km in June to 680km at the start of November 2020. It is now connecting more than 5,000 premises a month to its full fibre network. 

The firm is therefore on track to reach 150,000 homes and businesses by the middle of 2022, and 500,000 by the end of 2024.

Andy Conibere, chief executive of Trooli, said: "We are confident that demand for ultrafast broadband is only going to increase. It is rightly seen by the government as essential 21st century infrastructure and the experience of lockdown has accelerated demand from both business and private customers."

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