Broadband is being installed at the community venues across the West Lindsey district in the first phases of a scheme to improve digital coverage in the region after wireless internet provider Quickline won the tender for the project from West Lindsey District Council.
The installation process starts this month and is due to be completed by the end of October this year. It will not cause any disruption to residents, the council said. Once in place, the new technology is expected to deliver the same high internet speeds seen in urban areas.
Steve Jagger, managing director of Quickline, which operates across the Humber region, said the firm had previously delivered improved broadband speeds at more than 60 schools and to raise awareness of its service last year, it launched a campaign called Connecting Communities in East Yorkshire and East Lincolnshire to connect pubs in rural communities to superfast broadband. Access was provided for free on the basis pubs gave free access to customers.
He said the potential for the West Lindsey scheme was for local authority staff to access council networks remotely, which would be particularly advantageous when bad weather hampered travel.
It also had the capacity to allow electronic voting to take place when village halls operated as polling stations.
Receivers being fitted to village hall roofs were discreet, Mr Jagger said, measuring about the same size as A4 sheets of paper and existing masts were being used for placing transmitters. He said the uneven lay of the land may require an additional mast to be erected but this was still to be determined.
The leader of West Lindsey District Council, Burt Keimach, Conservative councillor for Market Rasen, said: “We have listened to our communities and they are telling us poor internet connection is a big issue. Our priority is to support communities to help themselves and we feel this project is a great enabler to do this. Improving access to high speed broadband will help support community activity, encourage people to pay their bills online and improve communication through emails and social media.”
The council currently provides broadband to some village halls however, this new contract will not only extend the number receiving broadband, the council said, it will save more than 20 per cent on costs.
The second phase of the scheme would involve rolling out the superfast wireless broadband to all village halls in West Lindsey that would like the access, the council said.
Mr Jagger said: “Village halls are a hub of activity for rural communities and it is fantastic that West Lindsey District Council has invested funds to improve communications.
“We are delighted to have won the tender and we are looking forward to working with the council to raise awareness of the availability of wireless services in the district and surrounding area.”