A South Cambridgeshire village has seen some of the strongest demand for fibre broadband in the county just one month after the arrival of the high-speed technology.
More than half of the households and businesses in Whaddon are already using the new service – and the number is continuing to grow rapidly.
The new green fibre broadband cabinet in Bridge Street, which went ‘live’ in October, was installed as part of the Connecting Cambridgeshire superfast broadband roll-out programme, led by Cambridgeshire County Council and BT. Connecting Cambridgeshire is rolling out fibre broadband to areas not included in the private sector’s commercial programme.
Whaddon’s broadband champion, Nigel Strudwick, has led the community’s campaign for better broadband, working closely with the Connecting Cambridgeshire team to find a solution and keep local people informed.
He said: “This shows just how important this new fibre connection is to people in Whaddon and that it was worth agitating on behalf of the village to get it into the 21st century. Without Connecting Cambridgeshire fighting our corner, we would not have got where we are now. It’s the latest of a series of improvements to living in Whaddon and we are now looking to install wi-fi in our refurbished village hall to make it more attractive for events.”
John and Anne Warrack, who live on the edge of the village at Dyers Green, said: “We feel as though we have finally joined the 21st century, as the new broadband makes using the Internet a joy rather than a nightmare. We're looking forward to Royston becoming 4G next!”
Kate French, of Bridge Street, said: “Before we had fibre broadband, it would take over four hours to download new software to our laptop - now it takes minutes and we can stream live TV at the same time. It has made a huge difference to us as a family of four, all with numerous connected devices - we no longer have to take it in turns to use the internet!”
Farmer Stan Smith said: “The new fibre optic has certainly made a big improvement to my business. Particularly with accessing all the agriculture compliance regulations from DEFRA and the Environment Agency, together with banking online.”
Peter Haselden, financial director of Amex Travel UK, who also lives in the village, said: “It has revolutionised our lives: I can work from home without having to apologise to colleagues that Skype won't work. The children are ecstatic that Clash of Clans no longer cuts out in the middle of an attack, and my wife can watch BBC iPlayer in the kitchen to her heart's content without entering into the War of the Remote Control.”
Cambridgeshire County Councillor Ian Bates, chairman of the Economy and Environment Committee, which oversees the Connecting Cambridgeshire programme, said: “The rapid take-up of fibre broadband in Whaddon shows how important good connections are for our rural communities to thrive. There’s still more to do, which is why the Connecting Cambridgeshire programme is continuing to roll-out fibre to as many premises as we can.”
Many more Whaddon residents have placed orders for fibre broadband packages with their internet service providers (ISPs) and are hoping to be connected before Christmas.
BT has responded to the demand by increasing the capacity of the new ‘all-in-one’ fibre broadband cabinet in the village, which uses the latest technology to bring fibre broadband to rural areas.
Dave Hughes, BT regional director for the East of England, said: “We’re delighted that the new superfast broadband has resulted in superfast take-up in this village. With more than half the village ordering within the first month of service, it shows how important it is to families and businesses to have fast internet connections. Whaddon is a great example of how the Connecting Cambridgeshire programme is bringing superfast broadband to communities which otherwise would not be getting it.”
Visit www.connectingcambridgeshire.co.uk to find out if you can get fibre broadband
Find out more about what makes Whaddon special at www.whaddon.org/village_hall