Superfast Broadband

Updated 1st May 2014.

Following many years of lobbying, it is incredibly satisfying to see that many parts of the Lydeard Division, which I represent, being amongst the first areas to benefit from the Connecting Devon & Somerset (CDS) superfast internet programme. The goal of CDS is to use the secured £94 million investment to transform internet speeds for businesses and residents ensuring around 90% of premises have access to fibre optic broadband by the end of 2016 with the safety net that a minimum of 2Mbps will be delivered to all premises by the end of 2016.

Bishops Lydeard exchange has been upgraded and most of the village itself is now wired for service through a series of new cabinets that have sprung up. Other villages served by the Bishops Lydeard exchange are also now live, including Cotford St Luke, Combe Florey and West Bagborough. Lydeard St Lawrence is programmed for upgrade by the end of 2014. Some isolated properties remain outside the scope of the current programme but they will at least benefit from the 2mbps safety net. Parts of Norton Fitzwarren also remain unconnected and I am working hard to have these included in the fibre programme.

On the subject of superfast internet, I have been amazed to receive approaches from residents in brand new homes in Norton Fitzwarren telling me that they regularly get speeds of less than 1Mbps on their broadband services. How is it possible for developers to construct new homes without installing up-to-date connectivity? The result is that new residents are inevitably disappointed and that the only way we can get the proper infrastructure installed is to load the obligation on to the taxpayer in the form of adding the requirement to schemes like CDS, described above. This is completely unacceptable. A decent broadband service is as important a requirement these days as constructing the road to the houses in question. To leave it out is incredibly short-sighted from a marketing perspective. Many of the growing number of homeworkers will inevitably be put off buying a home without a good broadband service, especially those engaged in tech or media. And why should the taxpayer pick up the tab for something that the developers should have provided in the first place?

I’ve investigated why there appears to be no planning policy in Taunton Deane requiring house builders to provide superfast broadband as an integral part of their developments. We all know that Taunton Deane Borough Council is having to identify land for 17,000 new homes in the Borough over the next 15 years. Apparently, there is no nationally-accepted way of requiring developers to do this so I’ve started lobbying central government for change. We must make sure that this now-essential service is included at the outset. More soon.

28 Responses to Superfast Broadband

  1. Simon says:


    Any news on the upgrade to the exchange of the Bishops Lydeard? I am looking to move to Cotford St Luke and would benefit from high speeds in that area.

    • Mike Rigby says:

      I’m afraid that there is currently nothing on the horizon, although I am still pushing. This means that Cotford still suffers from line speeds significantly below those experienced in Bishops Lydeard.

      • Simon says:

        If there is a petition to help things along let me know about it and I’ll sign up!

        • Mike Rigby says:

          Well, I and others encouraged local people to sign up for BT’s Race for Broadband. We finished in the top 3% of all exchanges across the UK in terms of the percentage of all exchange users that expressed an interest in superfast broadband. And despite that, Bishops Lydeard exchange is still not on the programme for the upgrade that would support 40MB+. It’s very disappointing; the vote held by BT turned out to be bogus and entirely misleading. It was, in my view, nothing more than a means to get names for marketing purposes. In these circumsatnces, I don’t think a petition will make a bean of difference……

          • Simon says:

            Thanks for coming back to me Mike! I find it rather strange that Taunton has Infinity which is pretty much a stones throw away and not Bishops Lydeard, obviously Taunton is larger and gets priority because of this. I believe whoever is pulling BT’s strings has no real idea of what the people want, most likely only interested in London and major cities. It is a shame.

  2. Only some selected parts of Taunton actually have “Infinity” – there are still large parts of the town still on old-style broadband.

    It looks like some areas were originally planned for FTTP instead of FTTC, and people on FTTP planned cabinets are still having to wait with apparently nothing likely to happen any time soon.

  3. Hugh says:

    Excited to hear that superfast broadband is arriving in BL. But how does one find out about plans/approaches/timescales for the more rural parts of your patch? TDBC website and CDS website does not provide very fine grained info on this. I guess there is a plan but not very accessible or obvious or even consulted on. Could you signpost?

  4. Andrew Ritchie says:

    Hi Mike
    I live in Fitzroy, and we have been regularly getting speeds of 7mbs on BT Broadband for a few years now. We may just be lucky. We are still on the old copper cables from the BL exchange, though, and do look forward to fibre broadband making its way down our lane. My recent interrogation of the BT Wholesale site suggests that the upgrade will not be heading our way for the foreseeable future, though.

  5. Barrie Childs says:

    Mike, I replied to this thread on 4th March and was advised my reply was awaiting moderation. Please would you ‘moderate’ that reply and publish it.


  6. Jim Matthews says:

    Hi. I have been chasing dates from many sources ttying to establish when fibre optic will be available. I have been tracking my speeds for over 6 months and have never got above 0.7mbps. The average is about 0.5. Living in a new build home (less than 2yrs old) I can’t believe this is the “norm”. My provider has not been the most helpful and would just like to know if this will ever improve? This is increasingly frustrating as my children are growing up and the requirement for my work theirs and general usage makes me wonder why I just go for unlimited data on my devices via 4g and forget broadband completely.

  7. mark griffiths says:

    After buying our house in October, i have found the connection speed of my broadband is to say the least horrendous ! I work from home and travel a lot also. my companys systems are cloud based and runs either very slow or not at all… my phone internet is quicker. I have done everything in my power to get some sort of information to when we’ll get our sevice updated , but bt and openreach are not very forthcoming with that infomation, i took great delight in seeing your report in the free paper explaining that norton Fitzwarren will be having fiber rolled out last month, now i find out that this is not the case and openreach have no such plans, can you update me on this please…. this whole situation is becoming very tedious …this is a major downfall for this area and had i know this before i purchased our house we’d never of moved here. By the way, i was also told by the agents that we could expect good internet speeds. So as you can imagine we,’re not best pleased. …..

    • Mike Rigby says:

      You must be very disappointed. Frankly, I find it completely unacceptable that developers are allowed to build new homes without building in fibre broadband from scratch. Please email me your postcode and phone number and I’ll chase up a delivery date for you. Best, Mike.

  8. James McAlpine says:

    Any update on the new houses in Norton? We spent good money on our house and working from home is not an option!!

  9. David Andrews says:

    Although my post code is outside your area, my telephone and broadband are from Bishops Lydeard Exchange.Our current download speed averages approximately 0.35 mbps; I have tried to obtain a definitive timing for the installation of super-fast broadband to my line and have received replies from “not likely ever ” to “definitely in two to three months”
    Alan Wyatt-Jones has suggested that I contact you as the expert in getting things done so I hope you can help me in this regard.
    It is better to contact me by telephone and my telephone number is 01823 432470,post code TA4 1DP. Many thanks, David Andrews.

  10. Neil says:

    What’s the latest on the Lydeard St Lawrence and environs upgrade please?

  11. Natalie Clay says:

    Hi Mike
    Just moved to Norton and am horrified by the broadband speeds. Any update on how you are getting on with bringing fibre to Norton?

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