Six-year campaign to bring faster internet to a Bedfordshire village has finally paid off

The rollout of fibre broadband in Dunton has begun

By Laura Hutchinson
Monday, 18th October 2021, 2:09 pm
Updated Monday, 18th October 2021, 2:10 pm

A six-year long campaign to bring faster broadband to a Bedfordshire village has finally paid off.

The rollout of a new Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) connection in Dunton is being carried out by Voneus - after it first arrived in the village in 2017 with an interim wireless solution.

That immediately increased broadband speeds from less than 1Mbps to up to 30Mbps.

Independent Central Bedfordshire Councillor Adam Zerny and Dunton resident David Booth

But it's not just gamers and Netflix viewers who are breathing a sigh of relief.

Dunton resident and software engineer, David Booth, is just one of the workers to benefit from the improvements - and says the better connection helped him avoid being furloughed during the Covid-19 lockdown.

He had previously struggled to download email attachments or upload any of the huge data files needed for his job - let alone host video conferences.

David said: “When I moved to Dunton eight years ago, I knew the broadband would be slower, however, BT told us an upgrade would be coming within six months, but that never happened.

“Since Voneus arrived, my wife and I have been able to continue our work in digital data-heavy fields from home and avoid the process of furloughing.

“As an avid gamer myself, the installation also meant I no longer had to spend hours packing the PC up to take to a friend’s place just to download the latest titles.

“I am so grateful to Voneus for actually delivering solutions and not just leaving myself and the village in the cold like other providers have in the past.”

Since 2015, a group of residents banded together under the name of the Dunton Residents Broadband Action Group to bring better internet to the 700 villagers.

Tim Fowler was another of the residents leading the search for a better provider, and having lived in the community for more than 11 years, he has seen first-hand how big of a leap Dunton has taken thanks to Voneus.

He said: “Even after getting an MP involved, we were told it was not commercially viable for our area to receive an infrastructure upgrade. With this fibre rollout, where the entry-level package provides speeds of 100Mbps, everything is going to take another massive step forward.

“Our measure before was how long does it take to download a film or how long can we watch Netflix before it needs to buffer for a long period; with this installation, those worries have been completely erased.”

Independent Central Bedfordshire Councillor Adam Zerny said: “Voneus was prepared to step in and do the hard work when BT were lagging behind. The improved speeds should hopefully make a real difference to Dunton residents."

Voneus founder Matt Appleton said: “The installation in Dunton is exciting, not only for us as it is the first connection of ours in Bedfordshire to go live, but also for the village as it means they can look forward with a future-proofed broadband infrastructure.”

“Our aim is to take rural communities that have been left behind on a path from poor broadband to gigabit-capable connectivity, similar to those enjoyed in urban areas.”

Voneus will be looking to connect a further 6,000 homes by the summer of 2022.

To celebrate the rollout, Voneus will also be holding an in-person event at Dunton Village Memorial Hall on October 19 between 2pm and 7pm where they will be answering any local questions about the rollout of FTTP broadband to premises in the area.