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Villagers celebrate 'game-changing' result of fibre broadband campaign

Monday, May 23rd 2016 by Ellen Branagh

Villagers who campaigned for superfast broadband have described how their lives have been transformed by the arrival of fibre.

Residents in the Leicestershire village of Holwell, near Melton Mowbray, said some people who had upgraded had seen a “game-changing” 20-fold increase in speeds.

The improvement to broadband speeds in the village is the result of the county council-led Superfast Leicestershire partnership with BT.

The project has seen the installation of a new roadside fibre cabinet in the village and more than four miles of fibre cable laid underground.

It means that 50 properties in Holwell can now order superfast broadband from a range of service providers.

The Superfast Leicestershire partnership has reached 63,000 premises so far, and is on course to provide fibre-based broadband to more than 72,000 homes and businesses across the county by the end of 2017.

Resident and digital champion Simon Wilkinson-Blake, who led the campaign for faster broadband in Holwell, said: “Using the internet was often difficult, with households having to limit themselves to one application at a time.

“Now we have fibre broadband, some residents who have upgraded have seen over a 20-fold increase in speeds.

“This is game-changing because it means we can at last use different connected devices simultaneously and also enjoy many internet applications previously inaccessible to us.

“Fibre broadband is a very significant enhancement to living and working in a rural village like Holwell.”

'Passion, vision and determination'

Sally Willars, who runs an independent travel business from home, has seen her average broadband speed increase from 1Mbps to 50Mbps.

She said previously it would sometimes take her hours to source the perfect holiday or travel solution, but now she can do most in half the time that it used to.

Councillor Blake Pain, Leicestershire County Council's cabinet member for broadband, said: “It is great to see residents and businesses in Holwell taking advantage of the new speeds available.

“I hope this inspires those communities set to benefit from our superfast extension project.”

Kasam Hussain, BT’s project manager for Superfast Leicestershire, added: “This is great news for Holwell, where villagers have shown great passion, vision and determination to work with us during a particularly complex and difficult upgrade.”

Earlier this month, Cable.co.uk reported that the number of people signing up for fibre-based broadband in Leicestershire had more than doubled in the past 12 months.

BT said more than 25% of homes and businesses had signed up to a fibre package, compared to around 10% a year ago.

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