A group of public sector organisations around Plymouth have awarded BT Group a contract to install a gigabit-capable fibre broadband network in the area.
It follows the provision of a £2.2 million grant from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).
The deal involves Plymouth City Council, NHS Devon Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust, West Devon Borough Council and South Hams District Council, along with the local shared service provider Delt.
Announcing the agreement, Plymouth City Council said it will provide better connectivity for 131 buildings and significantly extend access to full fibre networks.
Up to the job
Its leader, Councillor Tudor Evans, said: “The lockdown illustrates exactly why we need to make sure our technology and our networks are up to the job - not just now but in the future.
“We’ve all had a wake-up call for how important our broadband network is – just on a personal basis let alone on a business continuity side – so I am chuffed to bits that this is going ahead. The possibilities are limitless.”
Councillor Neil Jory (pictured), leader of West Devon Borough Council, said: “This is a fantastic first step in ensuring that everyone in our borough has access to a stable, fast broadband network.
“With our staff and councillors currently homeworking, I think we have all come to realise that broadband is now as vital a utility as electric and water, especially in rural areas. Businesses, residents and farmers will be very pleased with this announcement.”
The fibre installation is expected to begin in the autumn and run into next year under the management of Delt Shared Services.
BT Group said it has committed an inward investment of over £22 million to the region’s communications network, with plans for developing a 5G network and to provide cheaper broadband to deprived areas of Plymouth. The network promises to open up possibilities for new smart functions around the city.
Dr John McCormick, chief clinical information officer for the CCG, said it will provide the scope for new digital health services and support the growth in video consultations.
Image from West Devon Borough Council