Superfast broadband reaches Roman town

It comes after residents successfully applied for funding from a special council scheme which is bringing superfast broadband to more of rural Hampshire.

Before this, the group of 18 properties, on the outskirts of Silchester, were too far way from the existing broadband cabinet  to be able to get online at all. With many day-to-day activities now relying on good internet connections, such as working from home, online banking and streaming TV, this has made life very frustrating.

The match-funding covers half the cost of installing and maintaining a superfast broadband to the area, with residents paying for the rest.

James Kneller, a local resident, is leading the community scheme. He says, “We assumed superfast broadband was being rolled out everywhere. In fact it was installed in our local broadband cabinet, but unfortunately we were too far away to benefit from the upgrade”.  

He decided to do something about it, and signed up to the match funding scheme in July 2017. Hampshire County Council liaised with Openreach on the community’s behalf to develop a broadband solution. The result is that a new fibre-enabled cabinet is going to be built, bringing expected superfast speeds of 55-80Mbps.

The total cost for the scheme is £27,000. With the 50% match funding, this brought the cost down to an average of £750 per household. Mr Kneller told us more about the process.

“I emailed the community about the scheme early on, and asked how much people might be willing to contribute. Once the quote came through, the community were very supportive and we were able to raise the necessary funds in a matter of days”.

To manage the finances securely, he set up a limited company – Silchester Community Broadband LTD. This meant a project-specific bank account could be opened, with residents contributing their money securely. The community were able to sign contracts with HCC and BT later that same month.

It takes up to 12 months to install the infrastructure, once the contracts have been signed. 

The Silchester Community Broadband Project is the first of its kind in Hampshire. Whilst the rollout of superfast broadband is set to reach over 97% of Hampshire by the end of 2019, there are still pockets of small communities, often rural, which we are not able to reach.

To find out more about superfast broadband in your area, please fill in the postcode checker on our homepage and register your interest.

For information about superfast broadband services in your area, register your interest here, and then use the green postcode checker to find out the plans for your postcode.

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