L-R: Dr John Reckless, chair of Buckland Dinham Parish Council; Liz Southard, Voneus Regional Delivery Manager – South West; and David Warburton, MP for Somerton and Frome.

Member Article

Gigabit capable broadband arrives in Somerset villages to bridge the digital divide

Three Somerset villages will soon be enjoying minimum broadband speeds of 100Mb – after enduring internet access which meant it could take hours to upload a single photo.

People living in Buckland Dinham regularly saw their Wi-Fi hit a maximum of 1Mb before rural broadband specialist Voneus came to their aid in 2017.

Voneus initially installed a wireless solution, with residents and businesses boosting speeds to Superfast levels.

While that enabled faster and more reliable internet, allowing home working, streaming, and general browsing, full fibre delivered directly to the premises was always Voneus’ plan.

In addition to Buckland Dinham, Great Elm and Mells will also have access to the new network with a guaranteed minimum download speed of 100Mb and a maximum of 1Gb.

Voneus has also connected the village hall for free as part of its efforts to support the communities it serves.

Neil Lanning, Buckland Dinham resident and a prominent campaigner to bring broadband to the area, said: “Broadband has been a real lifeline during the pandemic. I work with the mental health crisis line SHOUT and see the crucial role of strong internet connectivity to keep in touch with people.

“Broadband can literally be a matter of life and death, so we are really happy Voneus is here to support our community.”

John Reckless, Chair of Buckland Dinham Parish Council, added: “Getting full-fibre broadband is very important for all the villages. It has been great to have Voneus in the community.

“Before they came along, we didn’t have a useful internet connection, and we didn’t get any real help from other providers.”

David Warburton, MP for Somerton and Frome, said: “Broadband is as much of an essential utility to a household now as water or electricity – people cannot live without it.

The pandemic has shown that as more people are moving from towns to the countryside, they will need to get online to work from home, which is why it’s great news that our villages are getting connected to ultrafast speeds.“

Existing customers on the wireless solution will triple their current speeds, ensuring they are future-ready.

Steve Leighton, CEO of Voneus, said: “Voneus’ business model is to take left-behind rural communities on a journey from no real broadband provision to gigabit-capable connectivity.

“The story of these three Somerset villages, forgotten by many, is a perfect example of our model in practice.

“Within three years of arriving in the area and working with the communities, we’ve been able to bring it, and them, up to the standard of connectivity enjoyed by many urban areas, simultaneously creating opportunities to attract new residents, businesses and investment.

“We’re thrilled to be an integral part of these communities and many others just like them across the country.”

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Alice Lee .

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