Tove valley villages to build their own digital highway

Fibre optic cable
Fibre optic cable

Residents and businesses operating out of a group of five villages in south Northants are celebrating after receiving a £117,914 government grant to dramatically boost internet connections in the Tove Valley.

Currently people living and working in Abthorpe, Slapton, Wappenham, Weedon Lois and Weston, struggle with a 2megabit per second (mbps)download speeds. Companies, or home workers struggle to email pictures or plans, while domestic users battle to download on demand films or TV.

But this week the Abthorpe Broadband Association (ABbA) learnt of its successful bid to DEFRA’s the Rural Communities Broadband Fund for fibre optics which theoretically could provide speeds of upto 500mbps.

ABbA chairman Eric Malcomson said he was pleased for the team of people he has worked with on the project, and added: “Bare in mind we’ve been living this for years now, so the fact we’ve got there, it’s almost a relief.

“The excitement among the community is tangible, everyone’s jumping.”

ABbA took matters into its own hands despite Northants County Council announcing its intention to provide next generation broadband to 90 per cent of the county.

Mr Malcomson said when they realised they were in the 10 per cent that wouldn’t get it they decided to do it themselves. He added: “Our statistics say more than 60 per cent of people living in this area either work from home, run a business from home, or are a business in their own right, and the business need in this area is considerable.”

Government funding for the project has been matched by loans from several individuals in the area.