Superfast Broadband helps pioneering motor manufacturer to get into top gear

More than 4,100 Crewkerne households and businesses, including Ariel Motors, now have access to superfast broadband as a result of the multi million pound Connecting Devon and Somerset (CDS) programme.

The Crewkerne-based motor manufacturer, which produces the superfast Ariel Atom and has a long history dating back to the 19th century when it patented the first spoked ‘penny farthing’ wheel, was one of the first superfast broadband customers in the Somerset town.

Director of Ariel Motors, Simon Saunders, said the fibre broadband technology was already providing a major boost for his company’s international operations.

“The easy exchange of information, data and files is crucial within our nationwide R&D multi-million pound projects and in advance design,” he said. “As technology evolves, we need to make sure that our connection matches that of our partners who are located in more urban areas, hundreds of miles away. With many complex, large CAD files, the speed of exchanging data has become important to us.

“Thanks to the latest rollout of superfast broadband, we’re now getting over 70MB download speed and 20MB upload speed, which is a lot faster than before. This means we can operate with new technology from our base in one of the most beautiful parts of the country.” Currently, there are 15 fibre broadband cabinets ‘live’ within the Crewkerne area offering superfast broadband for the first time to more than 4,100 premises. Hundreds of homes and businesses in and around Crewkerne are already using the service. Over the next few weeks five further cabinets will be introduced, providing an additional 1,171 households and businesses with access to superfast broadband.

Rural businesses have been at the centre of CDS’s approach to achieving superfast solutions. Since the rollout began over two years ago, the programme has connected over 10,500 businesses to the fibre network – the vast majority of which can access superfast broadband speeds. More than 240 business parks now have access to fibre broadband or will do so in the near future as part of Connecting Devon and Somerset’s aim to reach around 90 per cent of premises by December 2016. South Somerset MP Marcus Fysh praised the latest development within CDS as a “huge step in the right direction.”

He said: “Although superfast broadband has already arrived in Crewkerne, these additional cabinets demonstrate a strong commitment from CDS to meet the current goals set for 2016. This is really reassuring for local businesses, like Ariel Motors, that depend on adequate internet connection in order to meet customer demands in an increasingly technology-based economy.”

Councillor David Hall, Somerset County Council’s cabinet member for business inward investment and policy, said: “The Connecting Devon and Somerset project to build a fibre network is on schedule, connecting the county to the rest of the world. Ariel Motors, as an international company, is a great illustration of this. This is a significant step for Crewkerne and for Ariel’s global reach. The programme has had a positive impact on the region both in homes and in businesses. Long-term, the impact will be even bigger as the economy in the two counties will be bolstered by superfast broadband.”

Laurent Boon, BT’s programme manager for Connecting Devon and Somerset, added: “The Ariel Motors success story is a wonderful example of how high-speed fibre broadband can help a firm operate successfully on the international stage wherever it is located. This exciting technology is providing a major boost for businesses and households throughout the South West. Businesses are using it to become more competitive, find new customers and operate more efficiently, whilst households are benefitting from improved opportunities for online learning, entertainment or just staying in touch with friends and family. Whatever you do online you can do it better with fibre broadband.”