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Last Updated: Friday, 24 September, 2004, 13:31 GMT 14:31 UK
Village's DIY broadband solution
Computer screen
Villagers were fed up of waiting for a BT connection
A Gower village desperate to join the broadband revolution has set up its own network using a satellite link to a company in Belgium.

More residents in Reynoldston can now work from home, the village pub has gone online and children are enjoying rapid internet access for school work.

Those behind the project are now in demand to share their experience with other remote communities.

But getting the link up and running has been anything but easy.

The project has certainly added to village life
Hugh Jones

Residents made the move after being told by BT they were some way off being connected to broadband.

Broadband allows computers to access the internet quicker and users can get a greater range of services.

BT is rolling out broadband facilities across the UK, but it is taking time to reach rural and remote areas.

Wireless network

Instead the Reynoldston Broadband Project received funding from the Welsh Assembly Government's Sustainable Development Fund to come up with its own solution.

It uses a satellite link to a facility in Belgium, owned by communications company Aramiska, with the signal distributed via a wireless network to homes.

A transmitter has been set-up three miles away on Horton Hill to ensure the fifty plus users get a good signal.

Other communities have introduced their own broadband service but few have had to cope with signals being transmitted such long distances so there was limited experience to draw on.

Much of the equipment had to be brought in from the USA and then adapted and tested.

Users of the network in Reynoldston pay a one-off joining fee and then a monthly subscription.

Hugh Jones, chairman of the Village Hall Association, said: "The project has certainly added to village life.

Local pub

"Some are now able to work from home more easily including running their own business.

"The local pub has gone on-line whilst children have rapid access to the internet, helping them with school work as well as for fun.

"The introduction of broadband means, for example, that Joy Cooke, who runs a family history course, can have direct access to census data."

Andrew Davies, the Assembly Government's e-Minister attended the project launch on Thursday evening.

He said: "Providing broadband access is one of the priorities as we transform Wales from the highly industrialised economy of the last century to a knowledge-based economy.

"I'm delighted to see that the village of Reynoldston has taken the initiative to ensure that the community will have the latest technology at its fingertips."


SEE ALSO:
Broadband gets youth approval
08 Jun 04  |  Wales
Broadband hits four million mark
03 Jun 04  |  Technology
City to become wireless hotspot
19 May 04  |  Wales


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