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Somerset villagers redraw BT’s superfast broadband map via crowdfunded campaign

Residents of Claverton, Somerset have convinced BT that bringing superfast broadband to their village was worth it. 

Villagers in raised enough cash to change the minds of the telecoms giant, which had won a £94m contract to bring superfast services to 90 per cent of premises across Devon and Somerset by the end of 2016. 

Claverton folks found themselves outside of that original footprint and set about raising the necessary funds to convince BT to change its mind. Three years later, their efforts have resulted in BT setting up two roadside cabinets, allowing residents to order both ADSL and FTTC (Fibre to the Cabinet) services. 

The local campaign was led by Dr Rodger Sykes, a parish councillor and director of Claverton Solutions Limited, who said that residents were previously only able to get speeds of around 1.5Mbps, owing to the distance between homes and the nearest exchange located roughly two miles away in the centre of Bath

Dr Sykes said: “Now Claverton residents can benefit from download speeds of up to 80Mbps and upload speeds of up to 20Mbps.

“Rather than just complaining and waiting for someone else to solve the problem, I’m very proud of the way the community got together and with BT’s help found a way forward. It has been hard work over three years to get to where we are today both for the residents of Claverton and the BT people involved, but we have worked together very well.” 

BT has been unable to reveal how much money residents needed to raise to pay for the two cabinets. Similar projects in the past have seen people needing to raise around £11,000 for one cabinet, while others needed to stump up £30,000 for two

It’s also unclear if the project means that everyone can order FTTC broadband and whether or not FTTP (Fibre to the Premises) – which currently provides top download speeds of 330Mbps – is on the cards. 

BT has promised to upgrade its online postcode checker which will be able to let firms and families know when (or even if) superfast services are coming to their street. Until then, it’s not a given that you’ll be able to order FTTC – even if your local exchange says that it’s available

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