THREE villages are taking the rural broadband battle into their own hands.
Storth, Silverdale and Yealand are raising the estimated £200,000 costs of Hyperfast broadband themselves.
It follows two packed-out meetings at the start of August in Yealand and Storth.
Their aim is to raise the £101,000 needed across the three villages for the first stage and a similar amount for the second.
The three villages are storming ahead with 77 per cent of the total money required for stage one already reached.
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Broadband service is around 5Mbps at the moment but, under the residents’ project, the new service would deliver around 1,000Mbps to be one of the fastest residential connections in the world.
It would mean quicker TV, music, films and video, among other advantages, like helping businesses and those working from home.
The group is going under the name B4YS which stands for Broadband 4 Yealand, Silverdale and Storth, and includes Sandside and Carr Bank.
It has worked closely with another leading not-for-profit group called B4RN which stands for Broadband for the Rural North.
B4RN is a community-owned and funded business, wholly owned by individual shareholders who have signed up for Hyperfast broadband in Lancashire and Cumbria – rather than wait for BT’s national broadband project, which is likely to miss out some rural areas.
The B4YS group includes businesses, residents and Yealand and Silverdale parish councils.
Chris Ward, a director at web design company Big Fish Internet at Sandside, said broadband speeds in the area were not viable and, despite promises of a BT upgrade, the date had been set back and would not, in any event, bring the advantages of Hyperfast Broadband.
Mr Ward said: “We want to bring Hyperfast broadband to this neck of the woods by raising money from the public and community shares and effectively digging our own trenches to get 1GB.
“The group is quite new as we only started this in February and there has been a big push following the meeting in August.
“The fund-raising is going fantastically well.”
It is expected that the first pot of £101,000 will be raised in the next few months and, providing everything goes to plan, residents could be connecting to the new service from next year.
For more information see the B4YS website, at www.b4ys.org.uk.