Telecom with a heart – and 50 customers

A UK village which raised £37,000 to offer 200 homes the super-fast broadband that BT could not deliver has launched its network.

Rutland Telecom will offer the residents of Lyddington speeds of up to 40Mbps. Other telecom firms had said it was not economical to provide fast services to the village…

The Rutland Telecom scheme was a joint effort between villagers fed up with slow broadband speeds and a local ICT firm that was reselling BT’s broadband.

“We found that any company could do, on a smaller scale, what Carphone Warehouse has done and take over BT’s network,” said Dr David Lewis, managing director of Rutland Telecom.

They asked Openreach, the BT spin-off that has responsibility for the UK’s telephone network, to supply fibre-optic cable to a street cabinet in the village. It was a slow process and required the intervention of regulator Ofcom but two years later the telco is up and running and already has 50 customers.

“For the first time in UK telecommunications history the telephone lines of customers are completely cut off from the local BT exchange,” said Rutland Telecom director Mark Melluish.

Rutland Telecom has been approached by 40 other rural community groups to see if a similar solution is possible in their area.

We have one community east of my neck of the prairie that’s done something similar. It can be done – though it may not surprise anyone to learn that state and local governments can be your enemy, opposing access as strongly as a national Telcom might.

As for the folks who created Rutland Telecom – Bravo!

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