Fibre Lincs: Update

The network I visited last week has gone public with the news about the first lit Digital Village Pump in the UK, so I can now breathe out and tell all!

(Also covered by my good friend, Tref Davies at Timico)
Well, not all, obviously, as the third book in the JFDI Community Broadband series will be about Ashby de la Launde, but the fact is that a Community Interest Company, NextGenUs UK CIC, with AFL Telecommunications (a Fujikura company) and others, has laid and lit fibre to one of the very communities that the telcos claim is ‘not viable’ – deeply rural, small village, in the hinterland of a market town (Sleaford).
I am not fully sure how much I can tell, but suffice to say, the video of the users, and emails I am party to from them, make for exciting and delightful reading. Here are people who have been locked on dial up or bloody appalling broadband connections, who are overawed and ecstatic about the delights of fat pipe symmetry. And, because the network is designed as it is, “superfast” takes on a whole new meaning: in a walled garden, LAN environment, you can send massive video files to your neighbours without standing up to put the kettle on.
And this, for me, is part of the attraction of designing local or community networks. The removal of bottlenecks between local schools, council, GPs, businesses, homes etc means that the use of expensive Internet transit is diminished, and speed can be Gbps+ locally, dependent on the technology you use. 
US community networks use fairly sophisticated backhaul management, that can increase/decrease the backhaul in real time and ‘on the fly’ if demand is increased or decreased – no reason why we shouldn’t see that here…..if our telcos catch up or get out of the way!
There was some research a while back saying a very high percentage of mobile calls are made within the same cell or the adjacent one – in other words, our social networks are, on the whole, pretty localised. So, why send a file further than it need go? Bit like food miles really. Don’t send food from a local farm in Cumbria to a distribution depot in the Midlands and then send it back a superstore in Cumbria. Same works with data. ‘Tis simples!
What next? Are you a town council, such as Bradley Stoke, looking for an answer to your 2000 home slowspot? Are you a county looking to deploy FTTH in your region? Are you a small rural village who thinks you will be locked on dial up or copper for ever? 
It is time to realise that, as with the Fibre To The Farm last year, the solutions are finally here
and you can JFDI too! 
Let the telcos cherry pick the cities. Leave the urbanites to suffer in 5-10 years time with ponderously slow connections which pander to the telcos’ shareholders, not consumer needs. Force the telcos to up their game by making more such projects happen in the UK. And if you do, make sure you tell us!
And watch the house prices in such places escalate, because estate agents are reporting that the number one question they are asked these days is about broadband connectivity. So, by getting involved in connecting your community, you could be adding a substantial add-on value to your home that far exceeds your cost to connect.
 

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