Abberton: Community fund pays for six villages to get superfast broadband

L to R - Colchester Borough councillor Kevin Bentley, Lloyd Felton of County Broadband, parish coun

L to R - Colchester Borough councillor Kevin Bentley, Lloyd Felton of County Broadband, parish councillor John Walker, chairman of Winstred Hundred Parish Council Nicky Ellis and local farmer Phil Gladwin at Abberton Reservoir. - Credit:

Six villages in north Essex have been handed access to superfast broadband as part of a deal linked to one of the region’s key civil engineering projects.

Money from a £750,000 community fund set up to offset the impact of expansion work at Abberton Reservoir, near Colchester, has been used to give the rural communities of Peldon, Abberton, Langenhoe, Great and Little Wigborough, Salcott Cum Virley and Layer Breton internet connections to rival Britain’s biggest cities.

The Abberton Scheme is the country’s first major reservoir development in more than 20 years. On completion, it will hold an additional 15 billion litres of water and service one and half million people in Essex

Winstred Hundred Parish Council, which looks after a number of the villages, has accessed £64,000 of the fund to bring broadband to an area where internet speeds are frustratingly slow.

It has teamed up with a local firm, County Broadband, which is providing a wireless network with speeds of up to 64Mbps for businesses and domestic households. An open day is planned for later this month to let people know about the new service and to encourage people to sign up.

Parish councillor, John Walker, said the superfast connection was desperately needed.

“As in many rural areas, the internet connection in many parts of our villages is chronically slow or, in some cases, non-existent. What service there is fluctuates and makes using the internet impossible. This will allow us to fast-forward into the future,” he said.

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Local farmer Phil Gladwin, who runs Wigborough Traditional Meats, said the connection could “transform lives.”

He has been paying to get a slow, 4mbps service via a BT exchange prior to the new service.

He said: “Even accessing our own website can take many minutes. One of our neighbours moved away because he couldn’t run his business from his home without decent broadband. This will transform lives, especially for those people who live even further from the exchange.”

Councillor Kevin Bentley, who chairs the community, fund added: “Rural broadband is extraordinarily important, not just for the economy but for individuals as well. I am delighted that the fund was able to give the money to get this project going and I really hope people sign up and use it.”

Winstred Hundred parish councillors are hosting an open day at Peldon Village Hall on Saturday, February 15, 10am to 5pm.

For more details call the clerk of the parish council, Sue Pullen, on 01206 735367.