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Residents club together to get high-speed broadband … and will use it to deter criminals

Residents at a new housing development have stumped up thousands of pounds to help pay for high-speed broadband to be installed on their estate. And they will also use it to install security cameras to deter thieves and burglars. Householders at Hazelmoor Fold, a development of more than 80 houses at Blackley near Elland[1] turned to crowdfunding to raise ?4,780 towards the cost of installing fibre broadband in partnership with phone and broadband network Openreach.

Openreach is using fibre-to-cabinet technology where engineers install electronic kit in a street cabinet to boost broadband speeds above those possible using traditional copper cables. The move will boost speeds in Hazelmoor Fold to up to 80Mbps. The first residents at Hazelmoor Fold are due to get the higher broadband speeds in about a year.

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The co-funded deal is the 400th to be signed as part of Openreach’s UK-wide Community Fibre Partnerships (CFP) programme.

Almost 200 CFP schemes are now live. Resident Kev James, who led the campaign for the upgrade, said: “We moved into Hazelmoor Fold about a year ago and discovered that, unfortunately, no fibre broadband was installed at the time the houses were built. There are many people living here who work from home as well as many families using streaming video services and the speeds we were getting just weren’t fast enough.

“Broadband speeds are more important now than ever before and this is going to make a massive difference.

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“I work for a software company and a lot of my work involves developing and testing software which requires very large downloads on a very regular basis. Without fibre, this is extremely difficult to do. But it’s also about being future-proof as the need for faster speeds and greater bandwidth is only going to increase.

“Also, as a community we are thinking about streaming all our existing security cameras to a cloud-based location, allowing the whole community to view security footage across the estate and have central recordings should we need them. It will give us even more security and peace of mind.”

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Hazelmoor Fold was not included in any commercial roll-out of fibre broadband by the private sector in the Elland area – and was too early to be part of a new initiative whereby Openreach provides ultrafast fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) broadband to all new developments of at least 30 premises. Derek Richardson, Openreach programme director in Yorkshire, said the new internet connection would help to improve the quality of life for residents in Hazelmoor Fold.

He said: “I’d appeal to any community which isn’t part of any current fibre plans to get in touch with us to see what we can do for them.”

A spokesperson for Openreach added: “A CFP is a great solution for any community who wants faster broadband sooner rather than later or for those not included in any current fibre roll-out plans.

The scheme is focused on communities in the final 5% – those who are yet to benefit from a faster fibre broadband service.”

References

  1. ^ near Elland (www.examiner.co.uk)

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