Homes and businesses in the village of Tunstall are looking forward to a superfast future after local residents took matters into their own hands to secure high-speed fibre broadband.
People living in the small coastal village joined forces with DONG Energy – which operates a number of offshore wind farms in the area - for help in funding a high-speed broadband connection after finding out their community was not part of any current fibre broadband rollout plans.
The company agreed to fund the installation, which will provide access to new fibre-to-the-cabinet technology (FTTC) offering speeds up to 80Mbps to all fifty properties. The work will be carried out by Openreach, BT’s local network business, which is also helping to fund the project.
The superfast download speeds, which should be available towards the end of this year - will mean activities like streaming high-definition TV or a movie online, quickly uploading larger files in seconds, and using video-calling services, such as Skype, will be possible.
Tunstall resident Mark Ridpath, who helped lead the community campaign along with Stephen and Christine Midgley, said: “Currently, you’re lucky if you get 1Mbps in download speed. It really doesn’t allow you to do very much.
“We’re over the moon about getting fibre - my wife is planning to leave her job later this year and set up her own foot care business. Having access to high-speed broadband will really help her to get it off the ground.
“Having superfast speeds will give me the freedom to work from home, but also doing things like videoconferencing will be so much easier. I have a brother living in New Zealand, who we don’t see very often, so it will really help us to keep in touch.”
“There are quite a few families here and having fibre will also help children living here get online to complete homework assignments or access educational recourses to help them with schoolwork.”
BBC engineer Mark, added that the village included “at least” three farms which would also benefit from having access to fibre. “Farmers now need the internet for all the stuff they do, things like getting access to the latest market information, keeping equipment secure with broadband powered CCTV or for selling farm shop produce online.”
“Being able to benefit from faster download speeds becomes more important as more home devices connect to the internet and so many things are accessed or delivered online.”
Julian Carolan, senior environment and consents specialist at DONG Energy, said: “DONG Energy is absolutely committed to supporting the local areas and communities where we operate and so we’re delighted to be working with BT to provide superfast broadband to the residents of Tunstall. We hope the installation of this high-speed broadband will provide long-term benefits to Tunstall for many years to come.
“We are extremely proud of our role in this part of the country, and have committed funding for a brand new promenade feature in nearby Withernsea as well. Our East Coast Community Fund, which is currently open for applications and will run for 20 years, also has a total of £9.3m available for community projects in coastal areas including East Riding of Yorkshire.”
Emma Peace, Openreach spokesperson for Yorkshire and the Humber, said: “It is great to be able to work with communities like Tunstall village to find a fibre broadband solution. We’re working on hundreds of similar community fibre partnership programmes across the UK, which are bringing faster fibre internet access to even more homes and businesses. Openreach is committed to making fibre broadband as widely available as possible in the UK to allow families and businesses to do even more online.”
The agreement is another success for BT’s Community Fibre Partnership (CFP) scheme, with more than 90 communities in the UK now connected to the fibre broadband network after getting in touch directly with the company. As a result, just under 20,000 premises that were not included in any other broadband roll-out plan now have access to fibre,with dozens more similar contracts in progress set to extend that reach to around 40,000 homes and businesses.
Because all of the work is being carried out by Openreach, BT’s local network business, residents in all of the CFP areas will have a choice of internet service providers and be able to choose from a wide range of competitive packages.
Across the country, more than nine out of ten UK homes now have access to superfast broadband, with a new property being able to connect, on average, every 30 seconds.
The rollout of superfast broadband in the UK is one of the quickest and most ambitious anywhere in the world with more homes in the UK now using superfast broadband than in Germany, France, Italy or Spain.
For more information about entering into a community fibre partnership with BT, please visit www.communityfibre.bt.com.