Residents and businesses in the village of Lyddington in Rutland will begin to receive a 40Mbit/s broadband service today, using a fibre network from a BT exchange installed by local internet service provider Rutland Telecom.
The service will provide an average speed of 25Mbit/s, almost 10 times faster than the UK average of 3.2Mbit/s, enabling customers to take advantage of key technologies such as video streaming, VoIP and speedy file transfers.
The village raised £37,000 upfront for Rutland Telecom to install the service, which uses a method called sub-loop unbundling to run a fibre-optic cable from a major BT exchange to a new exchange installed in the village.
This cable hooks up to existing copper and runs into homes or businesses, resulting in much faster speeds.
David Lewis, managing director of Rutland Telecom, explained that recent telecoms legislation had enabled the company to use BT's existing infrastructure to install the service, and that such rollouts are vital for the UK's future.
"The digital divide has become one of the major social and business issues of our time. Investing in high-speed broadband could be the key to stimulating rural economies so that people can remain in the countryside to live and work," he said.
Lewis added that sub-loop unbundling could be used elsewhere to provide a viable broadband solution in rural areas across the UK.
"There is definitely the opportunity for firms, or even parish councils, to set up in villages to take advantage of accessing BT's cabinets to provide high-speed broadband services," he said.
Rutland Telecom told V3.co.uk that it is already looking at further installations in several areas, including an internet not-spot in Wales and Denby Dale in Yorkshire, which had shown strong interest in receiving high-speed broadband services.
The success of the Rutland deployment is likely to be watched closely by all political parties, as the rollout of broadband to rural and other hard-to-reach areas has become a key election issue.
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