RESIDENTS and businesses in Upper Dicker have welcomed an initiative which has dramatically improved internet speeds in the area.
The improvements have resulted in a decent broadband connection for the whole of Upper Dicker and parts of Lower Dicker, areas which have suffered from a very poor service in recent years.
St Bedes School, Michelham Priory, and a host of small businesses can now take advantage of high speed internet.
Councillor Roy Galley, the Wealden Cabinet member of planning and development, said, “The Michelham monks may have come to this part of Wealden for the isolation but for today’s residents of Upper Dicker – and too many other rural households within Wealden – the vagaries of the broadband connection makes downloading internet files of any size a very slow process.
“Downloading video and music files can be almost impossible.
“In 21st century terms, local residents have been almost as isolated as the 13th century monks.”
Thanks to a scheme initiated by Wealden’s Local Strategic Partnership, the local community is now able to enjoy high speed broadband.
For small businesses located in farm buildings across the area, this means they can access large files quickly and meet the expectations clients and partners have of them.
Meanwhile for local school children, it will help with their studies and social life, and families will be able to stream internet TV and films.
Until now, if they have been able to receive broadband at all, many local residents have had connection speeds among the slowest in the country (less than 1 Mbps), but can now leapfrog the rural average to much faster speeds.
Chris Wollaston, an Upper Dicker resident who campaigned to bring broadband to the area, said, “After I moved to Upper Dicker in 2004, it became apparent that there was no possibility of getting Broadband because of the physical distance from the Hailsham exchange.
“I’ve battled since 2004 for the ‘digitally disenfranchised’ at the Michelham Priory end of the village to be broadband connected and after many false dawns, am delighted to be connected at last.”
The improved service has been paid for by a £48,000 from the South East England Development Agency.
Wealden District Council applied for the grant and co-ordinated and managed the project with St. Bede’s School.
The connection, installed by Call Flow Solutions, has increased the internet speeds of existing telephone lines through a booster system housed in a new street cabinet at the Coldharbour Lane–A22 junction.