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Today it has been proved that small villages don't need to be left behind when it comes to faster speed internet access. Rutland Telecom found that there was nothing stopping them performing what is known as Sub Loop Unbundling (SLU).

Some of you may know of Local Loop Unbundling (LLU - very common in the UK) where a company fits their own equipment in the telephone exchange and then simply connect lines to their equipment instead of the incumbent operator's equipment. This allows them to bypass the incumbent's network and cut costs. Sub Loop Unbundling on the other hand is done by building a new cabinet next to an existing street cabinet, fitting some equipment into it and then connecting lines to this equipment instead of to the initial street cabinet. The advantage of this is your syncronisation speed is then determined by the distance you are from the street cabinet rather than the distance from the exchange.

To trial this project to see if it would be viable in other villages, Rutland Telecom started with the village of Lyddington in the county of Rutland. After a few meetings, they quickly gained the initial threshold of 40 people they wanted for the project to be at least viable. This has now grown to more than 200 people since the project started. They chose to use VDSL2 equipment meaning people in the village could generally get 25-40mbps and making the cost to deploy in a village £20,000-£40,000. This cost would quickly be recoverable with 100-200 people paying ~£25 per month.

This does beg the question that if it is viable for villages to get together and have a company like Rutland Telecom deploy this technology, why isn't it viable for BT to do so, especially if local people are prepared to help out with engineering work, etc. I have said for a while now that what BT need to do is something similar to the initial "register your interest" signup forms we had in the early 2000s when broadband was only available in the cities and villages had to register to get broadband. Instead of registering your interest, though, have people actually place a full preorder with their service provider (BT or any of the companies who resell via BT Wholesale). The preorder would come with a contract saying that you are signing up to a contract (2 years say) which becomes active as soon as the technology rolls out. People should be able to cancel any time before deployment begins (for instance if they move out of the village) which ensures BT would have a return on investment.

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I am a technology enthusiast living up in Carlisle, Cumbria in the UK and am the managing director of Its Elixir which sells Henna Hair Care Products and Ear Candles, Craig Brass Systems which creates and custom develops quality software and LonsdaleNET which delivers high speed wireless and fibre optic broadband in Cumbria.