BROADBAND speeds are set to be improved in a number of Somerset towns after Openreach announced upgrades across the South West.

On Wednesday (July 30) the company outlined plans to make Full Fibre broadband available to thousands of homes and businesses in 33 cities, towns and villages.

In Somerset Taunton, Bridgwater, Burnham-on-Sea, Highbridge, Ilminster, Portishead, Winsford and Yeovil made the list.

Openreach said it will carry out the work without taxpayer subsidy, saying it hoped that having access to "some of the fastest broadband speeds in Europe" would boost the post-Covid economic recovery in those areas.

Work is expected to get under way in many of the announced locations within the next 12 to 18 months but due to the size of the build some places will see work continue into 2024.

Specific details on when Somerset's towns will get the improvements have yet to be announced.

The new locations in the South West are part of a wider announcement to make the new technology available to a further 3.2 million households in the UK’s hardest to reach ‘final third’.

It is part of a £12 billion investment that will see Openreach’s ambition to build ‘Full Fibre’ infrastructure to 20 million households and businesses throughout the UK by the mid-to-late 2020s.

Connie Dixon, Openreach’s Partnership Director for the South West, said: “We’ve already upgraded tens of thousands of homes and business across the South West to Full Fibre.

"As well as keeping the existing network running throughout the Covid-19 crisis, our engineers have, safely and with social distancing in place, continued building the new infrastructure to make sure that as lockdown restrictions ease, our network is there to support families, businesses and the economic recovery.

“Many South West households and businesses can already switch to the new technology and hundreds of thousands more will be following in the months and years ahead.

"People can check online and ask their broadband providers to find out more about the many benefits. Full Fibre is more reliable and more resilient – meaning fewer faults and more predictable, consistent speeds. It’s also future-proof to easily meet the growing data demands of future technologies.”

A report commissioned by Openreach last year revealed that connecting everyone in the South West to ‘Full Fibre’ broadband by 2025 would create a £4.3 billion boost to the region’s economy.

The report also found that more than 42,000 people across the South West could begin working again through enhanced connectivity, including roles in small businesses and as entrepreneurs, as well as allowing thousands more people to work remotely.

Openreach is publishing an extended list of 251 locations in the final third where it will build the new network over the next three years.

To view the full list of market towns and villages included in the announcement visit