Two Oxfordshire villages are to be brought into the 21st century with a new broadband internet service.
Appleton and neighbouring Eaton will reportedly have broadband speeds that match the best in the country once the system operated by an Oxfordshire entrepreneur is installed by September.
It follows a two-year campaign by residents dogged by a painfully slow internet which has meant they are unable to download films or watch TV online.
Appleton resident Graham Rose, who spearheaded the campaign, said: “Two years ago we had a public meeting in the village hall to discuss how we were fed up with the broadband speed and to find out
what we could do about it.
“BT said upgrading the Cumnor exchange was not in its current plans and so we looked at various alternatives, some of which did not make financial sense. Then we came across a company called
Gigaclear, based in Chipping Norton, was set up by Matthew Hare who previously ran telecommunications firm CI Net in Kidlington before selling it to MDNX in 2010.
Work has now started installing fibre optic cables around the village which will be capable of delivering broadband speeds of a minimum of 10 megabits per second (mbps) up to 1,000 mbps.
But before work could start, many villagers had to be convinced that a fee of £37 per month with a connection and installation charge totalling £185 was value for money.
Gigaclear needed 120 homes and businesses signed up before it could commit to making a £500,000 investment to install the system.
Mr Rose, 65, added: “People are resistant to change but in future people will relying on broadband even more because children will be doing their homework over the internet while we will be
downloading more films and television.
“It will be worth the effort and once it is operating I expect the number of subscribers will double.”
Lee Rennie, 34, who runs his own web design firm from his home just outside Appleton, is delighted with the propsect of the new service.
He said: “I am probably the furthest house away from the telephone exchange, so my broadband is even slower than elsewhere in the village.
“It has been very difficult to run my business as I need to upload and download all the time and I have spent hundreds of pounds on mobile broadband and a business package. This new system will
make a massive difference.”
Mr Hare, who has previously lived in Appleton, has successfully set up a similar scheme for a village in Rutland and expects Gigaclear to grow from 11 staff to 20 by the end of the year.
He said: “This service will be among the fastest in the country and will be continually upgraded. In five years time we could be delivering 10,000 mbps.”