Now over 1,300 households and businesses will be able to sign up to superfast broadband services following the switching on of four new fibre broadband cabinets.

Ottery residents should now be able to get speeds of around 24 mega bits per second.

There will be a free workshop in the area delivered by the ‘Get up to Speed’ team part of Connecting Devon and Somerset, showing businesses how to take advantage of faster broadband to boost business opportunities and get more customers. It will be organised with the Ottery Chamber of Commerce, so will be promoted locally once a date is set. The Get up to Speed team provides information on how to benefit from faster broadband, seminars on digital technology, gadget shows and demonstrations.

John Campion, Chairman of Ottery’s Chamber of Commerce, said: “We’ve been looking forward to greater access to broadband for some time, as this will allow many more businesses to take advantage of the growing numbers of people shopping online. It also means that businesses themselves can stay in better contact with their staff even if they are working away from the office.

“We will be encouraging local businesses to take advantage of the free workshop to help them make best use of the faster broadband. Remember, anyone who wants to get the service will have to order a superfast broadband package from their internet service provider.”

Connecting Devon and Somerset, a partnership between local authorities in Devon and Somerset and BT, has been working to bring the improved broadband service to Ottery St Mary since February this year. Making the connection has been a real engineering challenge, requiring extensive works and some road closures in order to install the fibre-optic cable. Laurent Boon, BT programme manager for Connecting Devon and Somerset, explained:

“Bringing fibre broadband to Ottery St Mary was a major challenge, overcome by great teamwork with local authority highways and planning teams. It included extensive excavations, the laying of new ducting and some road closures. Now that this hard work has been done, we are delighted to be making this exciting technology available to many more people in the town. We expect to make further fibre broadband cabinets serving villages around Ottery St Mary ‘go live’ within the coming months.”

Councillor Andrew Leadbetter, Cabinet Member for Economy and Growth for Devon County Council, said: “It’s wonderful to see so many people getting connected as a result of this programme. It is predicted that Connecting Devon and Somerset will provide an economic boost to the region of around three quarters of a billion pounds and every new connection made will contribute to that.

“With the new £38 million funding announced in August this year, we will be able to reach at least 95 per cent of people across Devon and Somerset by 2017, and our ultimate aim remains to provide 100 per cent coverage.”

More information on Connecting Devon and Somerset can be found at the website: http://www.connectingdevonandsomerset.co.uk. To find out more about Get up to Speed events in your area visit http://www.get-up-to-speed.co.uk.

Residents will need to contact their network provider to take advantage of the increased speeds.

Photograph: Laurent Boon, Cllr Andrew Leadbetter, Mayor, Glyn Dobson and me.