Part of the parish can now get super-fast fibre broadband.

There’s a new green telecoms cabinet close to the Devil’s Backbone bridge in Avonwick. This is ‘South Brent 5’, the all-important link between Avonwick and the new fibre broadband network being rolled out across much of the South Hams.

What’s happening?

Connecting Devon and Somerset, a partnership between BT and local authorities including Devon County Council, has installed a new ‘superfast’ broadband network in the area. This uses fibre-optic cables to transmit data to and from the new cabinet in Avonwick. This will mean that many subscribers in the parish will be able to obtain much faster internet connections than with the existing telephone network, which relies on signals being sent down the copper wires all the way from the South Brent telephone exchange.

When is it happening?

The fibre broadband cabinet in Avonwick is now live.

However, you may not be able to get super-fast broadband immediately after the cabinet goes live: it will be up to individual retail broadband suppliers (Internet Service Providers) to make it available to you in their own time. Some are accepting orders already.

How will this affect broadband speeds in the parish?

Fibre-optic broadband is known as ‘super-fast’ broadband for good reason: the nominal transmission rate (speed) is at least 24 Megabits per second. This is three times the maximum speed previously available on the South Brent exchange, and about six times the previous typical speed in Avonwick.

This will make websites load faster, and allow smoother streaming if you are watching television or films over the internet. A very large file, such as a video, of 3GB would take over one and a half hours to download on Avonwick’s typical 4Mb/s broadband speed: with fibre broadband, that should drop to about 15 minutes.

Will my broadband get faster automatically?

No: you will need to switch to a super-fast fibre broadband contract to use the super-fast broadband. Your current broadband supplier may offer to upgrade you, but you should check your options to find a deal that is right for you.

Will this benefit everyone?

It won’t affect the whole parish: the South Brent 5 cabinet covers Avonwick and part of North Huish, but only those houses who are on the South Brent exchange with dialling code 01364.

Although some subscribers on the Gara Bridge exchange can also get super-fast broadband, there are no firm plans at the moment to roll out superfast broadband to everyone on the Gara Bridge exchange, which serves the rest of the parish. However, new fibre cables and junction boxes were brought into the centre of North Huish in early 2017.

Wherever you live, your maximum broadband speed will still depend on the length of cable between you and the distribution point – that’s the South Brent exchange for ordinary broadband and the South Brent 5 cabinet for superfast broadband – and the condition of those cables. If you are connected to the superfast fibre cabinet with a chain of rusty paperclips, or you are at the far reaches of the network (about a mile from the cabinet is usually the limit), you probably won’t benefit from the superfast speeds.

However, premises in the parish on the South Brent exchange which are currently at the limits of the reach of broadband may see a considerable improvement in speed and reliability, even if they cannot get superfast speeds.

Is this connected to better wireless broadband or 4G?

In short, no. The wireless part of broadband is down to the router/wireless transmitter in your home (the box you plug into your telephone socket, such as a ‘Home Hub’ from BT), and fibre broadband won’t directly affect that part of the system. 4G – superfast mobile broadband – is related to mobile telephone signals, which are entirely separate.

Do I need a six-figure phone number?

It doesn’t matter if your telephone number is five or six digits long, and you should not need to change your telephone number to get faster broadband.

Where can I find out the latest information?

Here is a link to the latest information about the provision of fibre broadband to the area.