More than 25,000 homes and businesses across Devon are to see their internet connectivity transformed as Cornwall-based Altnet (Alternative Network Provider) Wildanet announces a major expansion into Devon for its gigabit-capable broadband network.
Wildanet - founded in 2017 to bring high speed internet to rural and hard-to-reach areas in the South West - is rapidly growing its fibre broadband network in the region, guided by a strong ethos and mission to drive digital inclusion. Earlier this year it began working in the Totnes area in South Devon, installing a new fibre network for the town. Wildanet is now working in over 15 areas across Devon in addition to its significant roll-out in Cornwall.
This full scale move into Devon will see major investment in new digital infrastructure right across the county, initially connecting communities spanning from South Molton and Holsworthy in the north and west, to Yealmpton and Axminster in the south and east.
As part of the move Wildanet expects to create 60 new jobs and is opening a 35,000 sq ft warehouse, comprising offices and logistics centre in Bideford which will act as a hub for its expanded operations in Devon as well as North Cornwall.
Access to high-speed broadband in Devon is inconsistent, with a significant digital divide between urban centres and the rural areas which make up the majority of the county. According to the Office for National Statistics, 78,000 people in Devon have never used the internet.
Helen Wylde, Chief Executive of Wildanet, said: “This is an exciting announcement for us and a significant moment in the growth of the business and our ambitions to level up connectivity across the South West.
“Wildanet has a clear mission to bring fast, reliable internet to homes and businesses in communities throughout Devon and Cornwall, with a vision of tackling digital inequality, removing the digital divide where it exists and working tirelessly to deliver digital connectivity to all.
“Our work in the region is showing what can be achieved through commitment, innovation, our own investment and strategic partnerships with Government.
“We’re looking to bring the same energy and can-do approach to Devon as we have delivered in Cornwall and look forward to working with communities, businesses, national and local government to extend the transformational benefits of gigabit-capable broadband to rural and hard-to-reach areas of the county.”
Wildanet’s new Full Fibre network is part of a national upgrade of digital infrastructure taking place across the country. Much of this being driven by Alnets, like Wildanet, bringing their local knowledge, expertise and commitment to supporting communities bypassed in previous roll-outs by major telecoms operators.
In addition, Wildanet was earlier this year awarded £36 million of contracts under the Government’s Project Gigabit to deliver Full Fibre, gigabit-capable broadband for up to an additional 19,250 premises in hard-to-reach areas in Cornwall.
It puts the company at the forefront of tackling issues of digital inclusion and internet affordability in the region, through a range of initiatives including:
- A variety of tariffs, so people are only paying for the connectivity they need
- Wildanet’s pledge of no mid-contract price increases
- The launch of Wildanet’s own Social Tariff, designed to support customers through the cost-of-living crisis and ensure everyone has access to essential internet services
- Wildanet’s work to set up digital hubs in towns and villages where it is rolling out fibre.
Areas set to benefit in Devon include the following (in addition to business connectivity solutions being offered in Exeter and Plymouth):
- South Brent
- South Molton