Hunts villages could get enterprise zone broadband links

ALCONBURY villagers could get high-speed broadband if part of the former RAF site becomes and enterprise zone.

So they could be wasting their time setting up Alconbury Telecom, launched at the village fete last weekend, to bring fibre optic-based broadband to Alconbury and Alconbury Weston.

A group of six villagers are putting together a business case for the prospect and have invited BT and five other internet service providers to look at the feasibility.

Spokesman Mel Bryan said: “BT’s fibre optic-based high-speed broadband service ‘Infinity’ will be provided only to telephone lines connected to cities and towns such Huntingdon, St Ives, and St Neots.

“Our villages are connected by five kms of copper/aluminium cable to the Woolley exchange, which itself is not connected by fibre optic cable to the Huntingdon town exchange. Download speeds over five kms of unamplified copper cable are down to 0.5 to 2 megabytes per second.” Typical Infinity download speeds are 30-40 mbs.

But, if the Government decides later this month that Alconbury Airfield should play host to one of 10 new enterprise zones – a project that could bring 8,000 high-quality jobs to the area – Whitehall will fund high-speed broadband as part of the deal and there is a chance that the villages will be able to piggy-back on that.

Huntingdonshire District Council’s economic development team has been talking to Urban&Civic, the company that bought most of the airfield site in 2009, about the possibility of extending the reach of the broadband connection.

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Spokesman Sue Bedlow, who has a meeting with Alconbury Telecom scheduled, said: “We are working to tie all the loose ends together to maximise the potential. It’s too soon to say any more than that. We are not overlooking the potential synergies.”