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Villagers cough up £15k to self-facilitate BT fibre cabinet

Residents of the village of Ashley have stumped up £15,000 to pay for a street cabinet that will bring superfast broadband to the area. 

BT will now bring the Northamptonshire village into the superfast fold next Spring. Services providing download speeds of up to 80Mbps and top upload speeds of 20Mbps will be available from a number of ISPs using BT’s Openreach network. 

The Ashley Broadband Fundraising Campaign, set up by a group of local residents, drew funding from 80 per cent of the village and mirrors the success of a similar campaign in South Yorkshire

Stephen Castens from the Ashley Broadband Fundraising Campaign said: “Broadband speeds are extremely important in a rural community such as Ashley. Villagers recognise the importance of being connected to the fibre network and we quickly established widespread support for signing a contract with BT.

“We are looking forward to the work being completed during Spring 2015 and some of the reasons provided for wanting to contract with BT included minimum disruption around the village, a choice of national communication providers and overall trust in BT’s ability to deliver and support.”

Costs for a BT street cabinet vary depending on location. As it can cost around £20-£30,000 for Openreach to install a cabinet, in situations like this, communities are normally asked to raise around 50 per cent of the funds. 

Owen Moody, East Midlands regional director for BT, added: “We welcome the opportunity to work with local communities, such as Ashley, so that they can benefit from fibre broadband. The fact that this will be an ‘open’ network available to all broadband service providers on an equal basis ensures the villagers will have access to highly competitive pricing and products from a wide range of providers.”

The news means it’s now unlikely that rural ISP Gigaclear will bother canvassing for interest in the village. When Wiltshire Council redrew its superfast boundaries earlier this year, Gigaclear reluctantly pulled out of its proposed Dun Valley and Tytherleys projects. 

Gigaclear exclusively installs fibre networks in areas which don’t stand to get superfast broadband from BT (or any other ISP) and provides top download and upload speeds of 1Gbps (1,000Mbps). 

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