A rural village in Kent has used funding from the local council to pay BT to roll out broadband fibre to its exchanges, providing broadband speeds of up to 40Mbit/s.
Iwade parish council secured a grant of £13,000 for the project from Kent County Council, which enabled the village to receive a further £62,000 from BT to fund the deployment.
Nicola McKenzie, broadband committee co-ordinator for Iwade, explained that the village had been through a long process to secure the funding and partner with BT Openreach.
"We managed to organise a village meeting with Kent County Council at which over 100 people turned up, indicating the desire in the village to bring in faster broadband. From this the council earmarked money for the project and we set about tendering," she said.
"We were approached by nine companies, and it involved a lot of work having to work out the technical and financial viability of each one, but in the end Openreach was the unanimous choice."
McKenzie added that Iwade has a lot of home workers and small businesses that will benefit from the rollout, which will go live in the autumn.
The committee also benefited from BT's planned expansion of its fibre network into the nearby village of Sittingbourne, which meant that the infrastructure for the new fibre would be passing near the village.
BT confirmed that Iwade's being within the boundary of the exchange in Sittingbourne it made it easier to complete the rollout.
"The case and costs would be quite different for areas where the feeding exchange is not scheduled for a fibre rollout," said a BT spokesperson.
"However, there could be many more 'Iwades' meeting these criteria in exchange areas already enabled or due for enablement in the future. We would be happy to work with local councils with funding to discuss if they meet these criteria."
The project will be of interest to the coalition government, which has s tated its desire to let market forces find solutions to the issue of broadband in rural areas.
However, McKenzie warned that the process was not easy and that the village benefited from having a higher number of technically skilled people than might be expected in most small villages.
The news follows an announcement in April that Rutland Telecom had used upfront payments from homes and businesses to use sub-loop unbundling on BT's OpenReach programme to provide inhabitants of the village of Lyddington with speeds of up to 40Mbit/s.
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