Rory Backs Remote Rural Community Blazing a Fibre Trail

Rory has welcomed news that the Fell End Rural Community Broadband Project – based in a small corner of Ravenstonedale Parish – has sent out its Invitation to Tender and is now close to going out to procurement, which will ultimately connect an isolated community of 58 properties, covering an area of approximately 10 square miles, to high speed broadband. This resident-led project aims to deliver super-fast broadband across some of the most challenging terrain in England. Many of the properties currently have broadband speeds of less than 0.5mbps with some of the properties receiving no broadband service at all.

Rory said: “It is fantastic news that Fell End hope to procure their service provider over the next couple of weeks. This is a perfect example of how communities and telecomms providers can meet half-way and find imaginative, tailored solutions to unique infrastructure problems. Fell End continue to lead the way on national policy in community broadband projects, and I am delighted to have supported them this far. They have been instrumental in the creation of the Rural Community Broadband Fund, and continue to set a national example.”

Project leader Libby Bateman said: “The telecommunications infrastructure in the valley is direct buried copper which was originally installed in the 1930s (interestingly, that was a community-led project too).  We recognised early on in the project that we would need to install new infrastructure if we were to deliver a future-proof and reliable broadband service to our properties. This project began over 2 years ago and we have had many barriers to overcome along the way, but the pieces are all falling into place now and we hope to be going out to procurement for our service provider in the next couple of weeks. We have been extremely lucky to be given support for the project by the Princes Countryside Fund and the DEFRA Rural Community Broadband Fund along side contributions of cash and wayleave agreements from the community the network will serve.”

Fell End is part of the Upper Eden Community Plan who were part of the Eden Valley Vanguard for the Big Society.

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