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Harlaxton residents hope for installation of new high speed broadband to "bring the 21st century to the village"

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More than 200 households have shown their support for the installation of a fibre broadband to replace a village's slow system.

Villagers in Harlaxton have applied for The Government Rural Gigabit Grant Fund, and if they are successful, fibre broadband will be installed in the village.

Ian West, Harlaxton resident and director for a software company, is organising the new broadband, and initially started the process towards the end of 2020.

Harlaxton's main cabinet for fibre broadband (54141771)
Harlaxton's main cabinet for fibre broadband (54141771)

As his own broadband contract was coming to an end, Ian called BT to see what his options were and decided to ask if the village could get fibre broadband, as the current service was quite slow.

He was informed that there were no plans to upgrade the village's broadband, and that there probably wouldn't be for another five to 10 years.

Ian was advised to speak to Openreach, who informed him of the Community Fibre Partnership, whereby if he spoke to everyone in the village who wants the quicker broadband, Openreach would then work out the cost to install the broadband, which would then be split between the interested residents.

Ian West, a Harlaxton resident and director for a software company (54141777)
Ian West, a Harlaxton resident and director for a software company (54141777)

He said: "We approached everyone in the village several times, looking to see if people were interested, and it became quite obvious quite quickly that a lot of people were.

"I had a little over 100 people that said yes very quickly, which originally meant that each of us were going to need to put our hands in our pockets to pay for this, at an estimated cost of three or four hundred pounds each."

Upon further research Ian discovered local authority grants and government grants that could help pay for the broadband upgrade, and the village applied for The Government Rural Gigabit Grant Fund, which they are still waiting to be confirmed.

Harlaxton currently has Fibre to the Cabinet, where a fibre optic cable connects to a main cabinet in the village, which then connects to every property through the existing copper wires.

The new upgrade would give the village fibre optic cable connectivity all the way to the property instead, rather than using the very old and slow wires.

Ian added: "Our plan is to bring fibre from the cabinets to every property in the village; increasing internet speed from 25Mb download and 5Mb upload to 1Gb download and upload, thus increasing the speed by 40 times for downloads and 200 times for uploads, bringing the 21st century to the village."

He calculated that the support of 180 households was needed to cover the estimated costs, to make the scheme free for everyone, but a contracting party would still be needed. This is usually a parish council, but Harlaxton Parish Council is currently not a qualifying council under the 2011 Localism Act, and so were unable to undertake the role of contracting party, so Ian had to secure more people who wanted the quicker broadband to enable Openreach to do the work.

Ian said: "To achieve this and make it free for everyone we needed to get the support of 220 residents, and we now have 232 who said yes they want this service, which puts our government grant funding total comfortably above the Openreach cost."

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