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Cider Helps TrueSpeed Extend 1Gbps FTTP Broadband in Somerset

Tuesday, August 28th, 2018 (12:08 pm) - Score 3,163
truespeed fibre optic dig to priston

Residents in the rural Somerset (England) communities of Sandford and Churchill will soon access ultrafast broadband speeds after UK ISP Truespeed Communications completed the build a new 1Gbps capable Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) network, which was needed in order to connect the local Thatchers Cider business.

The provider, which has set itself an aspiration of covering 75,000 premises by 2021 and possibly 200,000 by 2025, is currently deploying their network across rural parts of South West England (i.e. Devon, Gloucestershire , Herefordshire , Somerset and Wiltshire) and has already covered several thousand premises (here). Much of their initial roll-out was focused on the Chew Valley region but they’re also going beyond that.

Despite being a fairly young provider the ISP was last year able to secure a huge investment of £75m from Aviva Investors to expand their network (here), which is helping to power their network expansion plans. As part of this work they were recently able to build their “full fibre” cables to cater for Thatchers Cider in the community of Sandford.

The knock-on impact of that work also helped extend internet access to the entire local community, by pushing it over the 30% sign-up threshold (demand-led) at which TrueSpeed begins its network build. This means that TrueSpeed will now enable the entire community to connect to its network, as well as equipping local schools and village halls with “free broadband for life“.

Residents in the large rural village just up the road in Churchill (population of around 2,200) will also benefit from the same infrastructure.

Evan Wienburg, CEO of TrueSpeed, told ISPreview.co.uk:

“Connecting rural businesses like Thatchers to a 21st century broadband service that will last for generations is vital for a thriving digital economy. As more people choose to live and work outside of the main conurbations, and working from home becomes more prevalent, access to full fibre broadband that lets people collaborate should be seen as a right, not a privilege.”

Ian Dorling, Head of IT at Thatchers Cider, said:

“We’re thrilled to be joining forces with another pioneering local business to help secure a better digital future for our local community.. Plus the TrueSpeed service will open up a whole new world of connectivity for Thatchers, giving us access to secure, full fibre broadband and ensuring our business runs smoothly at all times.”

Just to help illustrate the ISP’s progress, back in the spring of this year we were told that they had covered around 3,000 premises and today’s update states that they’re now “on course” to pass more than 12,000 premises by this autumn (we think that could mean the end of this autumn rather than the start).

In terms of products, residential customers pay from £47.50 a month for a 200Mbps symmetric speed broadband package with unlimited usage on an 18 month contract term. The standard installation charge is £120 but this may vary depending upon the location.

We should point out that slower “superfast” (FTTC etc.) style services are already available to some parts of the same area, although TrueSpeed are obviously offering something far faster and more reliable.

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Mark Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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11 Responses
  1. Avatar A_Builder

    Fantastic piece of work piggybacking of of a commercial necessity to serve a community.

    Another interesting business model to add to the mix.

  2. Avatar Joe

    “Cider Helps TrueSpeed Extend 1Gbps FTTP Broadband in Somerset”

    Workers digging trenches in the hot sun drinking cider to keep them going 😉 (certainly true of the thatchers around these parts!)

  3. Avatar chris conder

    Excellent news, shows it can be done. This is where public funding should go, and not to more obsolete BT FTTC.

  4. Avatar A_Builder

    @chris conder

    Yes, those vouchers do make sense!

    • Avatar Joe

      Certainly targeting villages to nudge up either the take up (or subsidise the short fall for a transitional phase) or vouchers really helps the SME FTTP providers to build. There are many sites just below the commercial level that with the right incentive would be built (and in the long term the risk for the Gov is minimal as uptake has always exceeded the investment assumptions)

  5. Avatar Rahul

    I expect more rural projects like this to happen naturally. As we can see from the photo, simply digging soil with a tractor is always going to be much easier than digging asphalt/pavements in urban areas.

    There are no damages and repair works after digging soil in rural countryside areas. Once the Fibre cables are laid you then simply cover the entire line (gap) with soil and regrow back the grass. It is so much simpler and of-course there aren’t even any need for wayleave consents for that, no roadside traffics either.

    Not to mention they’ll be connected to individual houses rather than tower blocks. There is no other management team responsible to disrupt the project.

    • Avatar TheFacts

      Wayleaves are still needed.

    • Avatar A_Builder


      Digging through open ground is not so simple sometimes. Particularly if you hit large lumps of rock in hard clays, saturated ground, clay stone etc

      All that said where the geology is good digging across fields with the right kit can be amazingly fast and therefore cheap. The key is to pick the sites where fast digging is possible and get the optimal digging kit deployed.

    • Avatar MikeP


      How right you are. Try the clay-with-flints stratum I’m on. Although if it were to meet the Trade Description Act, it would be flints-with-clay.

  6. Avatar Peter Flower

    This wasn’t a pure sales pitch. Ian and I collaborated on a solution that would increase Thatchers speed and resilience whilst helping the local community to come closer to the full fibre network they deserve.

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