Village near Tamworth accelerates out of the broadband slow lane

Tuesday, 27th October 2020

This project was part of a pilot project by Rural Connectivity Programme
The Government has committed to spend an additional £5 billion extending gigabit broadband across the country from April 2021.

AS part of the government’s commitment to roll out gigabit broadband across the UK, the Staffordshire village of Thorpe Constantine has seen a transformation in their connectivity following a grant from the Government and Staffordshire County Council.

Thorpe Constantine lies on the outskirts of Tamworth and at its heart sits the Thorpe Estate owned and managed by the Lillingston family since 1631.

The estate incorporates heritage buildings, farms, rented properties and offices that have suffered frustratingly slow levels of broadband connectivity for years.

Tristan Lillingston, the man behind the broadband bid, manages the estate with his father Hugh. After putting up with years of poor internet Tristan took the initiative and researched the government Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme to support broadband investment.

Openreach quoted a total cost of £23,000 for the works to 12 properties so with the government voucher worth £1,500 per home and Staffordshire County Council topping up the pot up to a maximum of £3,500; it meant the work could be carried out without costing residents a penny.

On top of Thorpe being a great place to live, it’s home to a number of businesses too, which have all noticed the ultra-fast speeds.

Thorpe Estate has always been ahead of its time, as the estate generates its own heat and power, so adding good broadband to its list of assets will truly benefit all who live or work in the village.

Pictured (L-R) Mr Hugh Lillingston, Mr Tristan Lillingston, Rt Hon Christopher Pincher MP at the Thorpe Estate

Pictured (L-R) Mr Hugh Lillingston, Mr Tristan Lillingston, Rt Hon Christopher Pincher MP at the Thorpe Estate

To show off the impact these improvements have had, Tristan and Hugh Lillingston were delighted to host Christopher Pincher MP, while also giving him a tour of the Estate which has had over £2m of investment since 2016, including the creation of Thorpe Gardens wedding venue, the installation of a commercial renewable energy plant, and the opening of a coffee shop and chocolate factory.

This project was part of a pilot project by Rural Connectivity Programme in advance of the Government commitment to spend an additional £5 billion extending gigabit broadband across the country from April 2021.

Commenting Christopher Pincher MP said: 

“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic we’ve been reminded of the importance of fast, reliable internet connections at home.

“Gigabit vouchers are funded by the Rural Connectivity Programme as part of the government’s commitment to ensure that everyone has access to a fast and reliable broadband connection and will ensure that rural communities can seize the benefits of new technology.

“The example that I have seen at the Thorpe Estate is a brilliant example.  Well done to Tristan and to Hugh for driving this forward. My hope is that with other villages they can look to the work done here and see it as the example of doing it right.

“We have pledged to end the digital divide, and the investment at Thorpe is an important step to making that a reality locally. I am grateful to the County Council as they commit to pumping more money into the scheme, ensuring rural areas to receive that levelling up.”

Tristan Lillingston added:

“I am so pleased to see the first hand benefits of fast broadband at Thorpe. We can now connect multiple devices, use video calling platforms efficiently and hold on-line meetings, all with no fear of dropping-out. Our business tenants are thrilled because of the added efficiencies they are seeing from fast, reliable internet, whilst our residents have given us exceptional feedback – particularly those whose children use a lot of data when playing their video games.

“I would thoroughly recommend any other community taking the time to apply for this scheme; it really is worth the effort”

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