BiGDiG – or “Broadband in Greater Devauden
interest Group” – was formed in April 2012 by a group of local
volunteers, responding to an invitation from Monmouthshire County
Council’s Adventa team to apply for financial assistance in bringing the
benefits of faster broadband to Devauden and the surrounding area.
Why is BiGDiG important?
Internet users in Devauden and the surrounding villages experienced download speeds below the
minimum level judged by the UK Government and the Welsh Government to be
acceptable (2Mbps). As internet services develop, what was once
acceptable is rapidly becoming unacceptable. Small businesses in
particular need reliable and fast connections for downloading and
Devauden is served by the Wolvesnewton exchange, which does not
appear in BT’s published plans for roll-out of fibre optic broadband
services. If Devauden was allowed to remain a “Not-Spot” for high-speed
broadband, this would start to have an adverse impact on property values,
as buyers opt for better-connected locations.
Grants of up to £1,000 per household became available from the
Welsh Government towards the installation costs of faster
broadband infrastructure. In practice, no single householder or business
could achieve a fast service at reasonable cost acting alone.
This is where BiGDiG came in. Our aim was to work with all residents
and businesses in and around Devauden, assisting with grant
applications, negotiating with suppliers and developing a community-wide
approach to take us from “Not-Spot” to “Hot-Spot”.
BiGDiG was successful in bringing superfast broadband to Devauden
in March 2013 and, as a result, over 100 households are now
receiving an improved internet service.
This work is not yet complete and BiGDiG continues to be actively
involved in both extending the superfast service to all areas of our
community and ensuring the long-term success of the project.
How BiGDiG works
BiGDiG now has a formal constitution and a board of trustees - currently
Andy Williams (Chair), Chris Balmer, John Davis, Chris Hall and Peter Kenington. This structure
has allowed us to engage with Monmouthshire
County Council and to apply for financial and practical assistance from
them towards our goal – to bring high-speed broadband to “Greater
We depend entirely on the efforts of volunteers to make things happen.
If you think you might be able to help, whether by acting as a trustee
or perhaps as a local advocate, please get in touch.