Cossington schoolchildren organised a high-tech link up with America today (July 4) to celebrate their community becoming the first to benefit from the £18.6m Superfast Leicestershire project.

The children, who have been learning about Independence Day, will use the internet to call a family from Carolina Beach, in the United States, to help with their research and demonstrate the benefits of faster broadband.

The Royal Oak in Cossington is also staging a launch event, where residents and representatives from local businesses will be able to drop in and talk to the Superfast Leicestershire team and learn all about this exciting project.

Pam Posnett, cabinet member for rural broadband, said: “It gives me great pleasure to announce the first rural community to benefit from the Superfast Leicestershire project.

“The county and district councils, BT and the European Regional Development Fund have all made a significant investment to make sure that the majority of rural areas of Leicestershire are on the same footing as towns and cities.

“Extending high speed fibre into more rural areas will enable households to better access online movies and TV, communicate with family and friends and work more effectively from home.”

Event timetable
11.45am - Midday: Ribbon cutting photo opportunity.
Speeches will be at the Royal Oak by Pam Posnett (cabinet member for rural broadband), Bill Murphy (BT’s Managing Director, Next Generation Access), and Neil White (Cossington Parish Councillor).

Midday - 2pm: Broadband brunch at the Royal Oak
Residents and businesses will have the opportunity to talk to representatives from the Superfast Leicestershire project and find out what benefits it will bring. BT will be bringing their fibre broadband showcase to demonstrate what the increases in speed will mean for the community.

2pm - 2.30pm: Cossington Primary school
Children will Skype a family in the US to learn about Independence Day and show what can be done with faster broadband.

In the first phase of the project, around 10,000 homes and businesses across the county will have access to high speed fibre broadband from summer 2014 onwards.

Cllr David Slater, leader of Charnwood Borough Council, said: “The Council is delighted to have put money towards the Superfast Broadband project which will help give our residents and businesses better, faster and more reliable access to the internet.”

The £18.6m Superfast Leicestershire project will be delivered by Openreach, BT’s local network business, and will bring fibre broadband to more than 62,000 homes and businesses in the county. This high-speed network is available on an open, wholesale basis to all communication providers, therefore offering Leicestershire households and businesses the benefit of real choice from a highly competitive market.

Bill Murphy, BT’s managing director of next generation access, said: “Superfast Leicestershire is a complex and challenging engineering project, but the roll-out is progressing extremely well.

“Cossington is at the forefront of an ambitious multi million pound project, which will offer huge opportunities for the people and businesses of Leicestershire.

“This exciting technology will provide a vital boost for local businesses and offer new online learning and entertainment opportunities for households.”

For more information visit: www.superfastleicestershire.org.uk