A RURAL community in Eden is ‘waiting on tenterhooks’ as superfast broadband edges closer.
Ravenstonedale residents raised £80,000 to get cables laid to their homes after finding their current internet speed unbearably slow.
A 15km network of cables is being laid from Ash Fell Hill, through Fell End, to Uldale by local trencher Tony Swindenbank, providing 58 properties with high-speed internet.
Additional funding of £26,000 was provided by the Prince’s Countryside Fund and a further £54,000 was donated by DEFRA’s Rural Development Programme for England as well as an undisclosed amount from the Holehird Trust.
The cables have to pass through several farmers’ fields en route to the properties but every landowner granted wayleave free of charge, knocking thousands off the overall cost as they would normally charge £2 per metre.
Libby Bateman, local project co-ordinator, said: “We’re going to be sitting here on tenterhooks, it will mean a great deal to businesses around here. It’s taken four years to get to this point and it’s been a lot of hard work. Tony has worked all through the winter when it’s been wet and wild but it’ll be a great thing for the community.”
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Victoria Elms, manager of the Prince’s Countryside Fund, said: “We are delighted to be supporting Fell End Broadband to deliver superfast broadband to this remote community.
"Broadband is a great way of unlocking the potential of the rural economy and these 58 rural properties including 28 businesses now have the opportunity to grasp the same advantages as those in nearby towns.”
The project is one of only two rural broadband schemes in the UK and will be used by BT as a template for projects in other rural areas in the future.