VILLAGERS are celebrating a vast improvement to their Wi-Fi broadband infrastructure network, which has been implemented thanks in part to a council grant.

People living in Ashmansworth and Crux Easton had previously experienced poor connectivity, but thanks to a community-led project, funding has been allocated from Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council’s communication improvement and technical infrastructure fund to increase connectivity.

The borough council awarded £14,130 to Ashmansworth Parish Council, along with £20,000 which was independently raised by residents and community groups to erect a mast in the village, which now links to the internet via a mast in Winchester and the signal is distributed by bouncing it in a relay to each property, which has a small antenna and a router.

Ashmansworth and Crux Easton local action group (ACE), driven by Alan Cox, chairman of the parish council, investigated broadband solutions for Ashmansworth, an area outside of BT’s broadband roll out plans.

The aim was to create a high-speed network of point-to-point wireless technology capable of delivering high speed broadband.

Mr Cox said: “Our new broadband service has made an amazing difference by ending our isolation from the world and allows us to work from home, reducing the need for commuting.

"A reliable up as well as down link service at 30 Megabit per second gives us access to live streaming, catch-up TV, security monitoring and much else. We are very grateful to Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council for its funding which made this possible.”

The borough council’s communication improvement and technical infrastructure fund supports the council’s commitment to support sustainable growth in the borough for commercial enterprises, home workers and in education, as well as improving residents’ quality of life.

Cabinet member for digital innovation and inclusion at the borough council, Cllr Hannah Golding, said: “Good quality high speed broadband can be the key to success when it comes to education, employment and social inclusion.

“As more and more services go online we recognise that the need to access superfast and ultrafast, reliable and affordable broadband is an essential part of the council’s drive to increase digital inclusion.

“Areas in the final few percent that are outside of the current roll out and where there are no plans in place for a solution are increasingly looking to provide a community driven solution for themselves.

“Community projects, such as this one, are key to enabling areas that otherwise would be left behind in this digital age. The council needs to support these projects to ensure the digital gap does not diversely affect these communities, residents and businesses.”