Best rural broadband locations identified

Harborough in Leicestershire has been named as the rural location with the best broadband penetration. Some 99 per cent of households in the area are able to receive speeds of 5Mbps or more, according to data from Halifax. Test Valley in Hampshire and Arun in West Sussex also performed strongly, with 98 per cent of homes in these locations having broadband speeds of at least 5Mbps.

Tendring in Essex was another strong performer, as figures showed 97 per cent of households have this level of connectivity. Halifax compiled the data as part of a wider effort to identify the best rural place to live, with broadband connectivity used as one of the measures, along with criteria such as crime, average earnings and the employment rate. The Orkney Islands came out on top overall, with Wychavon in Worcestershire being named as the second most desirable place to live.

Wychavon ranked highly partly because some 92 per cent of houses in the area have superfast broadband – a measure of how superfast connectivity can enhance a person’s quality of life.

Commenting on the broader trends flagged up by the data, Halifax Economist Martin Ellis said: “Rural areas in the south tend to receive higher ratings for weekly earnings, the weather, health, and life expectancy, while in the rural north areas score well on education in terms of grades and smaller class sizes, lower house prices in relation to earnings, and both lower traffic flows and population densities.”

Bloor Homes developments to get ultrafast broadband from Virgin Media

Virgin Media will supply Bloor Homes developments with ultrafast broadband as part of a deal announced today. The agreement will provide more than 2,000 homes across eight sites with access to fast broadband, many of them using fibre to the premises (FTTP) technology. Earlier this year, Virgin started working with the Home Builders Federation[1] to improve broadband provision in new-build homes.

It has since announced an agreement with Redrow Homes that will see an initial 13,000 homes given access to ultrafast speeds. The new partnership with Bloor Homes will take Virgin’s broadband, TV and phone services to developments in Manchester, Exeter, Coventry, Leicestershire, Nottingham and Malmesbury as part of the provider’s ?3bn Project Lightning expansion. Chris Burton, group commercial director at Bloor Homes, said: “Ultrafast broadband access and engaging entertainment sit at the heart of any leading-edge household today.

“We build every home with its future owners in mind so I’m delighted to be working with Virgin Media. “Together we will ensure our customers can get the best home technology and are able to make the most of a connected digital home first hand.” Paul Buttery, chief operating officer at Virgin Media, said: “We’re delighted to have signed a nationwide agreement with Bloor, proving that Virgin Media has the backing and the people to create the connected homes people deserve.

“Bloor is among the first homebuilders to benefit from working with Virgin Media at scale and we look forward to our future together.”

‘The penny will drop’

In January, an investigation by[2] revealed the shocking state of broadband provision in new-build homes, with many homeowners stuck for months with poor or non-existent connections. Since then, Openreach has offered free FTTP to all large developments and from next month will make the service available for all new estates of at least 30 homes[3]. Openreach CEO Clive Selley told that developers are being educated in the advantages of an all-fibre infrastructure as opposed to one that uses traditional copper telephone wires.

“The penny will drop increasingly with the developers, they’ll realise that it’s a way of adding value to the housing that they’re building, they will increasingly get that point,” he said. “What we see is increasing appetite for FTTP and we’ll just keep driving the adoption curve up.” The new Bloor Homes developments being connected by Virgin Media are Seabrook Orchards, Exeter; Cropston Road, Anstey; Oak Tree Gardens, Donington le Heath; Charnwood Grange, Shepshed; Old Holly Lane, Atherstone; Worsley Fold, Walkden; Spring Park, Mapperley; and Filands View, Malmesbury.

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  1. ^ working with the Home Builders Federation (
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Holwell benefits from faster broadband

17:00 Tuesday 17 May 2016

Residents in Holwell who campaigned for superfast broadband say their lives have been transformed now it s available there. The county council-led Superfast Leicestershire partnership with BT has delivered download speeds of up to 80 Mbps to Holwell 20 times faster than what was previously available. Local resident and digital champion Simon Wilkinson-Blake, who led the campaign, said: Using the Internet was often difficult, with households having to limit themselves to one application at a time.

Now we have fibre broadband, some residents who ve upgraded have seen over a twenty-fold increase in speeds.

This is game-changing because it means we can at last use different connected devices simultaneously and also enjoy many Internet applications previously inaccessible to us.

Home-based travel counsellor Sally Willars, who has seen her average broadband speed increase from 1Mbps to 50Mbps, added: Before we had fibre broadband it would sometimes take me hours to source the perfect holiday or travel solution but I can now do most in about half an hour depending upon the type of request.