Leicestershire villagers celebrate game-changing fibre upgrade

Residents of a Melton village, who campaigned for superfast broadband, say their lives have been transformed now it is available there.

Residents of a Melton village, who campaigned for superfast broadband, say their lives have been transformed now it is available there.

The county council-led Superfast Leicestershire partnership with BT has delivered download speeds of up to 80 Mbps to Holwell – 20 times faster than what was previously available.

Local resident and digital champion, Simon Wilkinson-Blake, who led the campaign, 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 twenty-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.”

Engineers from Openreach, BT’s local network business, installed a new green roadside fibre broadband cabinet on Main Street and laid more than four miles of underground fibre cable.

Fifty properties in Holwell can now order superfast broadband from a range of service providers as a result of the installation.

Local resident and home-based travel counsellor, Sally Willars, has seen her average broadband speed increase from 1Mbps to 50Mbps.

She said: “I run an independent travel business from home and before we had fibre broadband, it would sometimes take me hours to source the perfect holiday or travel solution, but I can now do most in half the time that it used to depending upon the type of travel request.”

The work to make fibre broadband available in villages like Holwell is part of the Superfast Leicestershire partnership, which has already reached 63,000 premises.

The programme remains on course to make superfast broadband available to more than 72,000 premises in Leicestershire by the end of 2017.

Councillor Blake Pain, county council 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, said: “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. Simon has led the village in taking an active role in the rollout and we’re extremely grateful for that support.”

Funding for Superfast Leicestershire partnership has been provided by a wide-range of organisations including the county council, other local authorities, BT, the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK programme, and Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership as part of its Local Growth Fund.

For more information about Superfast Leicestershire visit www.superfastleicestershire.org.uk or look out for #SuperfastLeics on Twitter.