News from Blackdown Hills Parish Network

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Next generation Broadband heading for Blackdown Hills residents?

The BHPN has submitted an outline application to the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) for £4.6M to improve Next Generation Access (NGA) Broadband provision in and around the Blackdown Hills in Devon & Somerset. East Devon District Council (EDDC) has agreed in principle to be the BHPN’s Delivery Partner in finding appropriate suppliers and managing the project.

It is expected that the Department of Communities and Local Government will communicate a decision on the outline application in July and if successful, a full application will need to be submitted before the end of October. An Invitation to Tender (ITT) for potential suppliers is then likely to be published in early 2017. The project will be centred on parishes in the Blackdown Hills AONB but will also extend NGA Broadband coverage to parishes adjacent to the AONB, funding and technology permitting.

Suppliers who bid for this project will be required to provide an NGA compliant broadband service (30Mbps minimum) irrespective of the delivery technology (Copper, fibre, wireless etc) they propose.

Mrs Heather Stallard MBE, Chair of the Blackdown Hills Parish Network said: “This is an exciting opportunity for all Blackdown parishes, many of whom have missed out on the current County run broadband programme. It will enable our residents and businesses to have access to the technology and trade routes of the 21st Century and we hope that the Department of Communities and Local Government will look favourably upon our outline application. We are pleased to be working with East Devon District Council as our Delivery Partner in pursuing this opportunity.”