Headlines: May 7th, 2010

Making broadband available to UK businesses and citizens is vitally important and it’s crucial that rural communities aren’t left behind as the rest of the country enjoys the benefits of a 21st Century Digital Britain. Whilst the major telecom companies examine the problem of reaching the remoter areas, Rutland Telecom has come up with a solution and has delivered fast broadband to the village of Lyddington in Rutland.

The company has exploited telecoms legislation that allows the BT copper wire network to be used by smaller companies and funded the service with a private investment programme. This is the first time the residents of a rural village are be able to watch streaming HD TV, BBC iPlayer and other digital online services. It rivals urban broadband provision using telephone lines.

The small community in Lyddington, with 200 premises, raised £37,000 for Rutland Telecom to deliver the UK’s first ever broadband service from a street cabinet using a process called subloop unbundling. The funding works by individual investors getting an annual 10% gross return for three years after which time their capital is fully refunded. This allows for the fibre optic cable to be installed and general set up costs accounted for.

Rutland Telecom’s project in Lyddington has set a precedent across the UK that demonstrates it is possible for rural areas with demand for high upload and download speeds to have it delivered from street cabinets by smaller operators with community support, and for this to be financially viable and economically sustainable.