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Last Updated: Thursday, 25 September, 2003, 12:19 GMT 13:19 UK
Villages bypass BT for broadband
Home computer user
The new company will have the capacity to supply about 50 users
Villagers in rural Northamptonshire have won their battle to bring broadband internet to their homes, by setting up their own service.

The two villages of West Haddon and Winwick have started their own company to provide faster internet connections.

Instead of using phone lines, broadband is being installed in the area using a satellite and a number of wireless connections to bounce two-way signals off receivers to about 50 users.

West Haddon and Winwick Broadband Limited was set up by 11 villagers using their own money and government grants and cost a total of 11,000.

Campaign for better service

The company sourced a business which provides the wireless technology needed for broadband and will then sell the service to villagers at about 27 a month.

Trevor Sherman, one of the founder members of the company, said some people in the villages were just fed up with waiting for the local telephone exchange to be upgraded for broadband.

"We started a campaign about a year ago to get BT to upgrade the exchange but I realised that it was not going to happen by the end of this year," he said.

"We called a public meeting and it came down to 11 people - business owners and people who have to work from home - who wanted to put their own money into getting it in.

Capacity could increase

"We set up a not-for-profit company, a lot like the Co-op, which people join when they join the service."

Broadband is being installed in the villages on Monday and can reach up to 50 homes, although the could be future plans to increase this to about 100.

He added: "I don't think you need to set up a company to do this, but we wanted to do it properly.

"Our supplier would only deal with another company and people in the village wanted to see it was all being done properly."

Mr Sherman said the campaign for broadband and the new company had also brought the community closer together.

The official switching on of the new broadband service will take place on 3 October with MP Tim Boswell flicking the switch.

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