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Broadband after the coronavirus

  • by JW

Problems with slow broadband in parts of the west of England have left people unable to work from home during the coronavirus lockdown.

The question for Sidmouth is whether a better broadband connection would help the ‘rejuvenation of the high street’.


One of the main issues coming out of the recent questionnaire was lack of good broadband:

Life under lockdown – and how Sidmouth might recover


And as reported by the BBC a couple of days ago, things really aren’t good:


Lockdown broadband speed leaves home workers ‘frustrated’

Problems with slow broadband in parts of the west of England have left people unable to work from home during the coronavirus lockdown.

An architect in Somerset said his firm had a “team of two halves” with some colleagues’ ability to work being hampered. Another couple have had to go into the office and take their children with them as they could not do their jobs or schoolwork using the internet at home.

The publicly-funded Connecting Devon and Somerset (CDS) has been rolling out broadband since 2010 but has faced years of delays and black spots remain. It said it was working hard to resolve poor broadband speeds in the area…

Lockdown broadband speed leaves home workers ‘frustrated’ |


It’s largely because of the huge demand at the moment overloading the system:

Poor internet connection is huge lockdown problem in many areas because of home-working demand|


However, poor broadband has been an ongoing problem for years in the West Country:

‘Slow going’ blast on fast broadband |

‘Heads must roll’ call on rural broadband |

And the main body in charge of getting broadband out is at the centre of a lot of criticism:

Connecting Devon and Somerset is incompetent, say broadband campaigners |

It really isn’t very good – as reported back in September last year:

No New Devon and Somerset Broadband Contract Until Nov 2020 UPDATE |


The larger towns are generally better covered, as with this fanfare announcement last year:

Full fibre broadband is coming to Devon – how it will benefit homes and businesses |

And last month:

Jurassic Fibre’s OLT for 1Gbps Broadband in Exmouth is Live |

And as this official map of East Devon’s coverage shows:

East Devon: broadband connectivity: May 2019 |


Nevertheless, according to the Openreach website, there are no plans to upgrade the Sidmouth town centre

Questions about fibre broadband |

But a competitor is rolling faster fibre out in this area:

ISP Jurassic Fibre Update on East Devon FTTH Broadband Rollout |


They are expensive, as are these:


But other providers are also available in this part of East Devon:


The official process continues to lumber depressingly on:

Search begins for superfast broadband provider in Devon and Somerset |

Having said that, the giant that is Openreach points to help with funding for community projects:

Helping more communities to provide faster broadband |


The question for Sidmouth is that, even though it is better off than its rural hinterlands, the immediate focus is the ‘rejuvenation of the high street’ – and whether a better broadband connection would help.


As a commentator to these pages suggests:


If the whole town could offer fast connection through businesses, cafes and restaurants, and hotels it might be a pull for the town?

Especially if you could buy a package which allowed you to access wifi as you wandered round the town with all businesses joining in.

Or perhaps the Chamber and STC could fund it for the whole town (through grants of course) and businesses pay them to access it?

Of course, it depends on what the ISP would provide, but some providers seem to be open to ideas.


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