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Villagers in rural Northamptonshire have set up their own not-for-profit company to provide a wireless broadband service.

Resigned to the fact that West Haddon and Winwick, near Rugby, would not be commercially viable for BT to upgrade their exchange, 11 locals clubbed together to fund their own high speed Internet service.

The technology employed uses a wireless network with the signal hopping from building to building. This uses either small roof or loft space antenna and less than one seventeenth the power of a mobile phone.

The backhaul is provided by a two-way satellite link from Aramiska.

The service will be available to businesses and residents in the area when it's launched next month.

Subscription to the service costs £27 a month although property owners who host a wireless node qualify for a discount.

Trevor Sherman, one of the 11 founder members said: "After months of campaigning for providers to bring us Broadband, we finally decided the best way was to do it ourselves.

"This is entirely for the community and will bring tangible benefits in the future because we have complete control of both the infrastructure and the cost,” he said.

Earlier this month BT claimed that 80 per cent of homes were now connected to an ADSL-enabled exchange. However, most commentators accept that wiring up the last 20 per cent will prove a challenge.

A recent report by the Countryside Agency urged people in rural areas to take the initiative and do more to help themselves if they want high speed Internet access.

With fewer than one in ten villages in the UK hooked up to broadband, it is up to local communities to drive forward campaigns to secure funding and suppliers of high-speed services, the report said. ®

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