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Lincolnshire residents launch fibre broadband campaign

Thursday, March 27th 2014 by Hannah Langston

Villagers in rural Lincolnshire have formed a campaign to bring superfast broadband to their area.

Retired engineer Alun Hawkins and IT worker Ben Haines have held their first public meeting to drum up support for Fibrelincs, a community-based, fibre-to-the-home network that will supply superfast broadband to the parish of Carlby and nearby villages. While Mr Haines has just moved to the area and struggles to get a decent connection, Mr Hawkins has lived in Carlby since 1999 and can only get a maximum speed of 6Mbps.

The majority of Carlby is due to be upgraded to fibre-to-the-cabinet broadband in 2015 by Onlincolnshire, a partnership between Lincolnshire County Council and BT. However, as only one green cabinet currently serves Carlby, not all homes in the village will be able to receive fibre broadband, according to Mr Hawkins.

“By installing fibre in cabinets, those on the other side of the village may barely have a connection – this has already happened in villages close to Carlby. For those who can get it, fibre-to-the-cabinet is OK for five or six years, but eventually it will be too slow and will need upgrading. With fibre-to-the-home you install it once and it lasts forever.

“That’s why we’re looking for as many locals as possible to help set up this network and start benefiting from superfast speeds,” he added.

Fibrelincs’ first meeting attracted around 50 local residents who were keen to get involved in the project. Mr Hawkins and Mr Haines will design the new network and hope to attract volunteers to fill admin, finance and manual roles.

The campaign will be based on the successful Broadband for the Rural North (B4RN) initiative, which has seen all funds raised within the community, in return for which volunteers can claim shares. However, Fibrelincs is not yet ruling out the possibility of government aid.

Mr Haines said: “As the business plan matures, we will take a look at any supplemental funding available to us, such as government grants. The recently announced £10m "Competitive Fund" is obviously one of those sources of supplemental funding that we'll be investigating.”

According to Mr Hawkins, attendees have already starting emailing each other about how they can support the campaign. A follow-up meeting between the project and willing volunteers will take place in the next few months.

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Comments (7)

keith godfrey
7th April 2014

you'd think the government and BT in particular were doing us a favour? This nation is blind to its faults.

As one wit put it The world is a global brand.

Lindsey Annison
5th April 2014

Please get in touch with TechQt if your community is trying to set up fibre to the home, or has failed in its broadband endeavours. Please google me if you doubt my credentials! LINDSEY ANNISON JFDI broadband should give you enough to go at.

In it for the outcome not the income. Check out Youtube, techqt channel, your voices are required, folks. 19 years fighting your corner ;)

chris conder
4th April 2014

Do we know of any council anywhere supporting an alternative solution or do they all think the Emperor's new clothes are actually there?

Chris White
3rd April 2014

The best of luck to you, I hope you succeed. We (South Hams Broadband), in Rural Devon, have been battling with BT, and Devon County Council, for three years. BT will try every trick in the book (and some that aren't) to stop you succeeding, and if the County Council doesn't support you, as ours didn't, it makes life very difficult. They've now succeeded in blocking our application to the Rural Communities Broadband Fund, so we're back to the drawing board. You need a thick skin, and huge quantities of determination !

Lindsey Annison
2nd April 2014

Good luck. YOU CAN DO IT!

Please can you come on TechQT to tell everyone about your plans? Get in touch with me directly at @techqt on twitter. Google me if you want to know just how much support you have from here ;)

2nd April 2014

Yes, good luck, Fibrelincs. Down here in rural South Wiltshire, we tried the same thing with Gigaclear. Our campaign lasted over a year - until January 2014 - and we nearly succeeded, before a combination of BT and the local council put paid to our plans. See www.dunvalleybroadband.org.uk for the full story. And feel free to use any of the resources that you find on our site. We'd like our defeat to provide useful lessons for others who want to better their communities.

chris conder
27th March 2014

Good luck FibreLincs, hope your community rallies the same as ours and JFDI. Don't hold your breath for funding, there are forces at work to make sure you don't get any. Do it yourselves and watch the incumbent try to stop you. Its quite funny really, they will leave no stone unturned to delay your dreams. Hopefully Lincolnshire CC will see through the telco tricks and back you up, and that will make your dream a reality. Laying fibre isn't rocket science. You can do it. You can live the dream. Futureproof connectivity for your community. I have just seen the 'connected cities' blurb.... businesses can now get £3k each to get a good connection, yet they are the areas that have so called 'superfast'??? Does that tell us that even before we all get 'superfast' its already not good enough for cities? I think its pretty obvious that it isn't. Never was, never will be a solution if it comes through a phone line. Bring on the fibre, moral and optic, and good luck to you all.

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