The news is not good. After awarding a contract for a Somerset-wide fibre broadband network to Gigaclear with much fanfare in 2017, then announcing delays last year, Connecting Devon and Somerset has just announced that they are cancelling the contract and starting the procurement process again from scratch. What this means in practice is that Phase 2 of the broadband rollout will stall for at least another 18 months, and Stoke St Gregory will not see any significant improvements to its broadband provision for two years or more.

Those who are within a kilometre or so of one of the 2 BT cabinets (Church Close or Stoke Rd in North Curry) may have acceptable speeds on their hybrid fibre/copper connection, but for the rest of us the options are 

  Wireless from Rural Broadband Southwest (see below)
  Satellite (expensive for high data rates and laggy)
  Mobile = 4G

[I’d be interested to hear from anyone who has a reliable 4G connection, particularly as regards the cost if you use it regularly for streaming movies. Please let me know by email so that I can update with accurate advice.]

I can vouch for the wireless option from RBS, which delivers 10+ mbps and has proved very reliable. The good news here is that there is a new voucher scheme which will cover installation costs if your current speeds are near 2 mbps or less. 

RBS are looking to extend the coverage to as many people as possible without proper access to fibre. Please contact Matt Howard or drop me an email and I’ll pass on your details. I’m also happy to answer any questions if I can. 

The voucher scheme operates slightly differently from last time round. On this occasion you need to supply your name and contact details to the supplier (RBS) together with a screenshot of an online speed test which shows your speed to be under 2 mbps. They will then apply for the voucher on your behalf. 

The more people who join the wireless network, the more viable it becomes, so please join up if your current speeds are low. It would be good if we could give everyone in the village a viable alternative while CDS dithers around with fibre contracts. Even if you do not qualify for the voucher, the installation costs are not high, and RBS does not tie you into any contract, so there is effectively little risk to you.