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Seven Devon and Somerset towns to get superfast broadband

Seven rural towns and villages have been named as the first communities to benefit from the major £94 million scheme to get superfast internet.

By the end of this year, high-speed fibre optic broadband will start to become available in:

  • Moretonhampstead
  • Holsworthy
  • Sticklepath (near Okehampton)
  • Bradford on Tone
  • Bishops Lydeard
  • Creech St Michael
  • Monkton Heathfield (near Taunton)

Construction work for Sticklepath and Bradford on Tone has started three months early.

By early 2014, 15,000 homes and businesses in these areas will benefit from the new technology.

It is estimated that about 400,000 kilometres of optical fibre will need to be laid.

The first phase of the programme will also include extending fibre broadband in Taunton and Bridgwater, most of which have already been upgraded.

High speed fibre broadband is a key driver of economic growth and development. It has the potential to transform our rural businesses and communities, improve productivity, and enable business to access new markets while breaking down the digital divide within our communities. It will also improve and transform the delivery of public information and services.

– Councillor David Hall, Deputy Leader of Somerset County Council
West Country (E)

Tractor Wifi system at Glastonbury

A festival-goer on the phone at a previous Glastonbury Credit: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire

Glastonbury Festival-goers will be able to keep in touch this week, thanks to an unlikely piece of farm equipment. One of festival organiser Michael Eavis's tractors has been converted into a 4G wifi hotspot. It will be driven around the site at Worthy Farm during this weekend's event.

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Huge wind farm planned for North Devon

Wind farm planned for North Devon Credit: ITV News West Country

A planning application has been submitted to build two hundred and forty wind turbines in the Bristol Channel.

The wind farm would be sixteen kilometres off the North Devon coast near Woolacombe. Over the next month the planning inspectorate will look at the application from Channel Energy Limited, and decide whether to give it formal consideration.

The plans have caused a lot of anger in and around Woolacombe, with many believing the wind farm could damage tourism in the area.

West Country (E)

Union leader calls for nuclear power talks

The leader of the union representing 21,000 workers in the nuclear decommissioning and energy supply industry has called on all parties involved in negotiations to redouble their efforts to reach agreement on a strike price for electricity generated by the planned Hinkley Point C in Somerset.

Alan Leighton, the National Secretary of Prospect, made his comments following today's announcement from EDF that it plans to scale back on preparatory work for the project and reduce the number of people working on it in a bid to control costs.

"Our members' fear that any delay in the preparation work could impede or delay EDF's ability to bring the project to fruition once agreement has been reached.Prospect is committed to an appropriate energy mix for the UK, including gas and renewables, but it is undoubtedly the case that nuclear and nuclear new build will be pivotal if we are to achieve the twin goals of capacity and security of supply.

We hope that this announcement will encourage all involved in the talks to redouble their efforts to agree a strike price. Particularly as it comes so soon after the recent warning from outgoing Ofgem head, Alistair Buchanan, that we are facing an imminent capacity crunch in the UK unless urgent action is taken.Without an agreement we risk losing a once-in-a-generation opportunity to meet the country's decarbonisation targets and help build a new economy that provides good quality jobs and growth for the UK."

– Alan Leighton, National Secretary, Prospect Union

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Superfast broadband for Isles of Scilly

by Steve Hardy
Engineers laying superfast broadband cables in Cornwall. Credit: ITV News West Country

An ambitious scheme to provide superfast Broadband for the Isles of Scilly has been unveiled by BT.

It's expected that the first customers will be connected during the first half of 2014.

A cable ship is due to spend about a month later this year cutting and moving two cables, which had previously been used for communications between the UK and Ireland and Spain, and connecting them to the islands.

It's expected to cost more than three million pounds and will provide the islanders with some of the fastest internet connections in the country.

Contest to design the next hit mobile app in Exeter

Could the next Angry Birds game be developed this weekend in Exeter?

Teams from universities throughout the West Country are taking part in a contest this weekend to create a new app for your mobile phone or tablet.

It's part of a worldwide challenge to find the next great use for mobile technology.

Richard Lawrence has been at Exeter University:

Eyeball push marks hospital move

The inflatable eyeball will be pushed four miles Credit: Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust

Staff from Plymouth's Royal Eye Infirmary will this afternoon mark their move to new facilities at Derriford Hospital by pushing a giant inflatable eyeball between the two locations. Around 20 NHS workers are expected to take part in the event, starting at 2pm from Apsley Road.

The team will then travel up Mannamead road, crossing under Manadon roundabout to Tavistock road, up to Crownhill before heading into the hospital site from Derriford Road. They hope to finish around 4.30pm

Plymouth's Royal Eye Infirmary moving sites after 112 years

by Jacquie Bird

One of Plymouth's oldest institutions is about to relocate, ending more than a century of history. The city's 112 year-old Royal Eye Infirmary is moving from the city centre to a new purpose-built suite with operating theatres and consulting rooms at Derriford Hospital.

Five million pounds has been spent on the development, which has been planned for decades.

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