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Lincolnshire residents plan fibre broadband to beat BT rural bottleneck

Villagers in rural Lincolnshire are hoping to get out of the BT fibre cabinet bottleneck with a community ultrafast fibre network.

Retired engineer Alun Hawkings and IT expert Ben Haines set up Fibrelincs after discovering that BT’s state-funded rural broadband project will bring little benefit to the village of Carlby in Lincolnshire.

They’re hoping to follow the example of Lancashire’s B4RN or Cumbria’s Fibre GarDen and build their own fibre network that will be 10 times faster BT’s technology, serving several villages.

Lincolnshire residents plan fibre broadband to beat BT rural bottleneck
FibreLincs wants to take control of its broadband destiny

“Good internet connectivity is not only vital to the future of our communities, but is also achievable,” Haines blogged.

“Without improvements to our Internet connectivity we risk allowing the Digital Divide to widen even further. By not addressing this divide and keeping up with the cities and towns we are putting our families, communities and businesses at risk.”

FibreLincs said some villages, like Carlby, are simply too far from their nearest cabinet to benefit from BT’s FTTC (fibre to the cabinet) technology, while others are caught between the state-funded OnLincolnshire and Digital Rutland projects.

A meeting in Carlby village hall to launch the FibreLincs project attracted 50 local people with some volunteering efforts to get the campaign and network off the ground.

The initiative is modelling itself on B4RN project in the rural Lancashire, where local residents have funded and constructed a fibre broadband network connecting several rural villages at Gigabit speeds.

The first phase of the project is to establish the project and a core team, and the founders have already visited the B4RN team for ideas on how to roll out the project in Lincolnshire.

The second phase, planned for this year, will see the establishment of a community interest company to draw up detailed plans for the project and raise funds.

Haines added that as the project matures, it will look at whether government grants or other funding are available, such as the recently announced £10 million competitive fund for alternative methods to reach rural areas.

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