Ultrafast broadband coming to Plymouth

Key public services will be better connected with residents across Plymouth, the South Hams and West Devon, thanks to a new ultrafast fibre broadband network that will be rolled later this year.

Plymouth City Council together with NHS Devon Clinical Commissioning Group, the University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust, West Devon Borough Council and South Hams District Council and Delt Shared Services Ltd have secured a £2.2 million grant from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport for a subsidised gigabit-capable connection for 131 buildings in Plymouth and South West Devon.

Following a tendering process, BT Group has been awarded the contract to install the fibre broadband network.

It means hospitals, clinics, doctors’ surgeries, schools, youth centres and libraries and council buildings across the area will all be better connected. This investment will significantly extend access to full fibre networks, making it easier and cheaper for businesses and homes to connect.

Plymouth City Council leader Tudor Evans OBE 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 wakeup 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.”

Full fibre networks have connections with download speeds of up to a gigabit per second (Gbps). The benefits are not just about keeping us connected in a lockdown situation.  It could allow patients to access healthcare services digitally, including video consultation to GP surgeries. It will allow greater use of online and digital teaching skills for schools.

For organisations such as councils and health providers, it would allow residents and patients to access more services remotely.  For businesses it would make the area more attractive to creative and digital industries that rely on a fast and stable digital environment to work effectively which in turn provides a boost to the local economy.  

BT has committed to significant inward investment to the region’s communications network worth over £22 million over the next few years which will help make the region more attractive to business and create new jobs in the area. It includes developing a new 5G network and a commitment to use that technology to bring cheaper broadband to deprived areas of Plymouth. The network will also open to the possibility for a range of new smart functions across the city.

The fibre installation programme is expected to start in the Autumn and to continue into the follow year. The management and oversight of the installation will be carried out by Delt Shared Services on behalf of the partnership. The team is working on a programme to ensure as little disruption on the roads in and around Plymouth, South Hams and West Devon as possible.

Read the media release