Village pioneers internet plans

local farmer using mobile broadband in his paddock.  His name is James Arguile.
local farmer using mobile broadband in his paddock. His name is James Arguile.

A DONCASTER village today becomes the first in the UK to benefit from a national campaign to bring free mobile broadband to areas with poor fixed line broadband access.

Gringley-on-the-Hill, near Bawtry, has been chosen because residents wrote to BT, their MP and the Department for Business Innovation and Skills about the poor connection.

And it paid off after the Government-funded Race Online group, the Countryside Alliance and mobile phone network 3UK decided they should pioneer the new project.

This afternoon 30 villagers and businesses in Gringley will be receiving free mobile broadband dongles, handed out by local MP John Mann.

Dongles are electronic sticks which fix to computers to pick up broadband through the mobile phone network.

The firm is also putting in free mobile broadband in local pub, the Blue Bell, and community areas, along with a free iPad, so anyone visiting the pub can go online free.

Despite being on an elevated position, Gringley - with a population of around 750, a pub, village hall, church and school - has been dubbed a ‘not-spot’ in terms of broadband coverage.

Hugo Dunkley, chairman of the Gringley-on-the-Hill Parish Council, said: “We had written to the House of Lords, our local MP, the Department for Business Innovation and Skills and even a large fixed-line provider about the lack of comprehensive broadband in the community, but with no success.

“There was broadband in a small corner of the village but everywhere else speeds were frustratingly slow.

“Mobile broadband has addressed this problem and the dongles are allowing the people and businesses of the village to use the internet to its full potential for the first time.”

Research showed mobile phone broadband was three times faster than fixed-line broadband in Gringley.

The initiative is called the Rural Broadband Working Group.

It has involved 3UK work with local politicans and the Countryside Alliance to identify rural broadband ‘not-spots’ and give away free connectivity, alongside the dongles and equipment needed to get people online.

The aim is to help communities, families and businesses in rural areas who aren’t served by fixed line broadband providers, to access 3’s high speed mobile internet network.