Two more fed up villages take the JFDI broadband route
Residents of two Cambridgeshire villages are so fed up waiting for BT that they have formed a community-based network company to get them onto the broadband superhighway.
Alconbury Telecom is to ask Gigaclear’s new subsidiary, Rutland Telecom, to survey the villages of Alconbury and Alconbury Weston, in Huntingdonshire in Cambridgeshire, which total about 2,500 residents.
The new telco has won the support of local MP Jonathan Djanogly, who is campaigning to bring high speed broadband to his constituency’s rural areas, the Cambridgeshire county council, and the two parish councils.
Alconbury Telecom spokesman Mel Bryan said BT had advised them that the village would not get BT’s up to 40Mbps Infinity service until 2015, and then BT would guarantee only a minimum of 2Mbps download speed. “Alconbury Telecom plans to provide at least 10 times that speed,” he said.
The new service should also be more reliable, he said. The Alconburys have twice had their main, copper, cable to the local exchange (Woolley) stolen. This led to days without any telephone connection.
Mobile phone reception is also very poor, but Alconbury Telecom will use femtocells to improve mobile phone reception dramatically.
Residents are putting together a business case based on the Rutland Telecom model used in Lyddington to provide around 500 residents with an average 32Mbps broadband at a cost of some £37,000. It will include putting some of the profit into local village groups and promoting social inclusion so that tenants of local housing associations will have affordable high speed internet access.
They hope to attract financial support from BDUK, the government’s broadband delivery gency, and from the European Development Fund, via the county council.
To show funding bodies they have the necessary local support, they are asking residents to register confidentially by sending their name, address and landline number to email@example.com.
Bryan said they also welcomed expressions of interests from local businesses. “There are very few in the two villages, which are connected to the Woolley exchange, but we fear even these may leave if we don’t get reliable high speed broadband soon,” he said. Other companies attached to the Woolley exchange could benefit from Alconbury’s plans, he said.