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Last Updated: Wednesday, 26 November, 2003, 07:32 GMT
Villages win faster net access
Downloaded file, BBC
Rural areas have been slow to catch up with the broadband trend
About 7,000 rural residents in Northamptonshire will be able to access the web much faster by the end of the month.

Middleton Cheney, Byfield and neighbouring villages will have access to a broadband service after residents were encouraged to sign online and written petitions by the East Midlands Development Agency.

A Midlands telecoms firm, Pipemedia Ltd, was then approached to enable the BT exchange to provide the service.

Tim Boswell, MP for Daventry and the South Northamptonshire District, said: "This initiative is one of the first in the UK where a rural community has worked so closely with a sub-regional development agency and a supplier to deliver broadband in this way.

"It's a major triumph for Northamptonshire and a model that will inevitably be replicated across the rest of the country."

Pub quiz launch

The official launch will take place on 27 November when two pubs, the New Inn in Middleton Cheney and The Cross Tree in Byfield will compete with one another in a rural broadband quiz.

Competitors will see streaming video of players in the other pub as well as multimedia interactive questions streaming over the Internet. The winning pub will receive free broadband access.

Other villages which will be able to access the faster connection are Hinton, Woodford Halse, Charwelton, Upper and Lower Boddington, Chacombe, Wardington, Thorpe Mandeville, Farthinghoe and Overthorpe.

About 80% of the UK's population now has access to broadband but the service is mainly concentrated in urban areas while many rural residents are limited to slower dial-up connections.

BT has estimated broadband availability will rise to 90% during 2004.


SEE ALSO:
All of UK on broadband 'by 2005'
17 Nov 03  |  Technology
Build it and they may not come
14 Nov 03  |  Technology
Rural broadband policy under fire
15 Jul 03  |  Politics
Broadband black spots still rife
11 Jun 03  |  Technology
Broadband providers back need for speed
11 Jul 02  |  Science/Nature


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