Community broadband company, Broadband for Surrey Hills, better known as B4SH, are going from strength to strength. Guildford Borough Council (GBC) have recently reaffirmed their support to the company by investing a further £40,000 in the venture. This brings their investment to a total of £50,000 following an initial investment in the early days to help kick start the deployment of the fibre network.
Operations Director and volunteer Angus Denny who has been spearheading the deployment from the early days has been delighted with the progress made; “We have delivered 1 GB connectivity to parts of the Surrey Hills where speeds of 2MB or less were common. We are very grateful to GBC for their generous additional investment which will help further accelerate our progress.” The community structure of B4SH has enabled the company to receive wayleaves to cross land from supportive landowners such as The Duke of Northumberland’s Albury Estate, and GBC itself. This community support is key in achieving rapid access to the ‘‘internet starving” parts of the Surrey Hills as Denny refers to it. “Our next major phase of deployment is towards the village of Peaslake and the surrounding areas. We have plans to connect up a new rural affordable housing scheme together with other community assets on the way including a primary school.”
Since their inception B4SH have installed in excess of 90km of fibre ducting and connected over 260 residents, businesses and community assets. An early part of the roll out enabled Wonersh and Shamley Green primary school to benefit who are now enjoying gigabit internet connectivity.
Formed in late 2017, B4SH was set up as a community benefit society, a strictly not for profit fibre broadband installation and service company. The model, which works on a combination of the issue of redeemable shares in return for investment funding from individual investors, government funding from the DCMS Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme, service connection subscriptions and community volunteer involvement in the actual installation work, has created a winning formula.
Denny goes on to comment, “We have been overwhelmed by the demand for our service with communities from many parts of Surrey asking when can they be connected. We are still a very small volunteer-run company and urge those interested in making gigabit internet a reality in the Surrey Hills to step forward and get involved. From a volunteer’s perspective the great thing about B4SH is that it combines meeting new people, working outside, developing new skills with a great team and an opportunity to help provide benefit to the wider community.”
For further information contact [email protected]
Tel:- 01483 347437