Chancellor Sunak pays timely visit to Honiton fibre builder

West-country broadband internet network developer Jurassic Fibre got a visit from the Chancellor of the Exchequer ahead of a crucial local by election.

Jurassic Fibre was founded in 2018 to build out an FTTP network in Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Somerset. It is headquartered in Honiton, Devon and today announced plans to increase its fibre rollout to cover half a million premises in the region by 2026. The timing of that announcement could have been inspired by Sunak’s fondness of killing two birds with one stone, since his visit ensured a greater degree of publicity than such a statement of intent would have otherwise.

“Jurassic Fibre has achieved some phenomenal milestones in our short history, including connecting 100,000 South West-based households and businesses to ultrafast broadband in just four years,” said Jurassic Fibre CEO Michael Maltby (pictured, left).

“By increasing our commitment to 500,000 homes and businesses in the next four years, we are firmly demonstrating our dedication to both supporting the Government’s levelling up agenda and making the South West an attractive region to live, work, invest and visit. It was fantastic to welcome the Chancellor to our part of the world and highlight the great strides that are being made, while outlining our ambitions for the future.”

“Improving digital connectivity across rural communities in the South West is a vital part of our ambitions to level up every corner of the country,” said Sunak (pictured, right). “Through better access to ultrafast broadband, people and businesses in the region can benefit from the same opportunities afforded to regions like London and the South East. Jurassic Fibre has been a stalwart champion in bringing ever greater broadband access to areas like Devon.

“It has been great to see their business in action and to learn more about the positive impact they are having on the regional economy, not only through job creation in their own company, but enabling the growth of local businesses and boosting employment.”

We bet it has. To be fair to Jurassic Fibre, it did acknowledge the other small matter of a by election this week in the Tiverton and Honiton constituency. It has historically been a safe Tory seat but, such is the contempt in which the government run by the same party is currently held, there’s a real danger if it being lost to the Liberal Democrats, for which there is a perplexing fondness in that part of the country.

It makes political sense for Sunak to align himself with a growing, job-creating local company while he’s there and for Jurassic Fibre to welcome him. But you have to laugh at the sheer opportunism of it all and wonder if the Chancellor had even heard of the company until recently.


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