Village pays to get the fastest rural broadband

A COMMUNITY has clubbed together to make its broadband the speediest connection of any rural village in the UK.

Lyddington now has the fastest fibre optic broadband in the UK for a rural village, after Rutland Telecom secured 37,000 of investment from residents to install a fibre optic link to the village.

This will give residents, spread across some 200 homes in the area, access to broadband speeds of 25Mbps, which is 50 times faster than before.

It is the first project of its kind in the country and was officially unveiled to much fanfare on Wednesday.

Rutland Telecom managing director Dr David Lewis said he was delighted to be offering unique service to an otherwise technologically-impoverished community.

Meanwhile, villagers have already sampled the new service and given it a ringing endorsement.

Stuart Taylor-Harris, of Colley Rise, Lyddington, said: "The broadband has transformed our lives.

"Video calls to my daughter and her family in the US are now excellent and we can now stream any TV programmes we have missed to the TV from the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 or five, or we can save them to the computer and watch them at any time over the following 30 days."

Peter Lawson, of The Green, Lyddington, who helped co-ordinate the fundraising effort, echoed the positive mood surrounding the village.

He said: "My phone bill for everything is less than half what it was a year ago, with tremendous quality."

The Rutland Telecom team announced at the event that the second village to be connected like Lyddington will be in North Wales.

In addition, the company is in advanced discussions with Great Easton, five miles from Lyddington, to get a similar scheme up and running.

Eleven people in Lyddington loaned money to Rutland Telecom to pay for the installation of the fibre optic cable and the general set-up costs.

Investors will get an annual 10 per cent gross return for three years after which time their capital will be fully repaid.

They will receive their first dividend cheques in about eight weeks time.

Wednesday's ceremony was held in Main Street where the cabinet with the fibre optic connection is.

Dr Charles Trotman, head of rural business development for the Country Land and Business Association, said: "This work shows it is possible for rural communities to receive next generation access broadband across the UK and is an important step forward which should be congratulated."

The cabinet in Lyddington, which provides the new service, has the capacity for 500 lines and serves Lyddington's 200 homes and the villages of Stoke Dry and Thorpe-by-Water.