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Community group working to improve broadband access in villages

Back row, from left: F4RN members Paul Newton, David Colbeck, Jez Major, Steve Dickman, Peter Wheeldon. Front row: Ben Issott
Back row, from left: F4RN members Paul Newton, David Colbeck, Jez Major, Steve Dickman, Peter Wheeldon. Front row: Ben Issott

A community group has worked with Network Rail to provide a better broadband service to villagers.

The Fibre for Rural Nottinghamshire (F4RN) group was set up after residents in Fiskerton cum Morton were told they would be left out of a county superfast broadband scheme.

The ongoing work, involving a management team and other volunteers, has now connected around 120 households.

Having previously used Wifi to beam the signal across the railway line via dishes at Fiskerton, the team worked with Network Rail to physically connect it. It now runs underneath the line and will provide faster speeds to those connected in the village.

Mr Ted Ward, from F4RN, said: “It allows us to get fibre further and further into the village.

“Properties will now be able to receive better speeds and a better service.

“I would hope that by this time next year we would have at least 200 households connected.

“In such a rural area there is a lot of digging trenches and working with people in the village.

'Quite a logistical exercise'

“Some of the work has taken place in farmers’ fields. They have been extremely co-operative but we have been delayed because in some cases we couldn’t go across a field because it had yet to be harvested.

“The whole project has been quite a logistical exercise.

“But it’s important that we do it because we want to have the vibrancy of young families coming into the village. Many of them think of broadband as a utility now, so connecting properties means that this has been a worthwhile exercise.”

On one recent weekend, the team installed more than 1,100 metres of fibre in a single day.

The group set up after raising £115,000 through community internet shares. Their eventual aim is to connect all 370 households in both villages.

The scheme has involved building a wireless network directly to properties. The team will then overlay the network with fibre to increase performance.

Wireless broadband is delivered through radio waves while fibre optic signal is transmitted along the fibre using light so there is no reduction in speed or quality depending on how far away the house is.

The monthly subscription for homes in the villages is £36 per household.

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