Speeds in Sudbrook (Lincolnshire) Soar Thanks to Openreach Broadband Boost

Local MP Caroline Johnson joins engineers to take a socially distanced look at the new network

People living and working in the Lincolnshire hamlet of Sudbrook are now able to order some of the fastest broadband speeds available in the UK.

They’ve joined forces with Openreach – the UK’s largest broadband network - to make ultra-reliable and gigabit-capable full fibre broadband available, with villagers even working alongside engineers to help dig 2km of trenching to house the fibre cables.

Openreach has been trying to find a solution for Sudbrook for some time and faced with the prospect of a difficult and complex fibre build in a remote and rural area, brought in its Chief Engineer team – the company’s equivalent of the ‘telecoms SAS’.

Engineers set up a socially distanced base at a nearby trout farm, and quickly got to work building the new network. Working with villagers to dig fibre trenches, they’ve laid kilometres of fibre around the village, connecting homes directly to the new full fibre network.

Sudbrook resident and Marketing Consultant, Melodie Hindmarch, is one of the first to be connected: “Being a busy family home in a remote and rural area, we’ve always struggled to get good speeds and felt this more than ever during the first lockdown. Four of us going online at the same time would often bring things to a halt, and I was coming under increasing pressure to find a faster, more reliable connection if I was to realistically be able to continue working from home. The timing of Openreach’s work in the village could not have been better.

“The nature of what I do means I’m in touch with people all around the world, at different times of the day. Late afternoon used to be pretty tough, as I have regular video calls with clients and colleagues in America. For important meetings or presentations, I had to ask my husband and teenagers to temporarily disconnect, which is clearly far from ideal when they’re also trying to do their own work and school learning.

“Full fibre has changed all of this. We can all get online together with no drop-off whatsoever. We have incredibly quick download and upload speeds, perfect for moving large files around, and carrying out virtual meetings and presentations. All of this alongside my husband partially working from home, and our teenagers watching Netflix. It’s brilliant!

“Within the village, people are surprised and equally delighted that the new fibre network is even reaching isolated properties that have been unable to connect to other utilities in recent years.”

Future-proof full fibre broadband is capable of carrying speeds up to 1Gbps* - around 15 times faster than the UK’s current average - bringing more reliable, ultrafast broadband services to communities.

MP Caroline Johnson, who lives locally and represents the Sleaford and North Hykeham constituency, spent time with engineers who’ve built the network: “I have been very impressed by how responsive and helpful Openreach have been throughout this process and I was grateful to have the opportunity to thank the engineers who worked to finally bring full fibre broadband to Sudbrook.

“I know that this has made an incredible difference to families locally and demonstrates that it is absolutely possible to get rural areas properly connected. I will continue to work closely with Openreach to identify areas in need of priority work and support local businesses and workers across my constituency, and I would urge anyone experiencing problems with their broadband to get in touch.”

Openreach’s Chief Engineer, Andy Whale hosted the MP visit and said: “We’re really proud of what has been achieved in Sudbrook, as we’ve had to overcome a really challenging build to make full fibre available. We couldn’t have done it without the help of people living there, who have shown true community spirit in clubbing together to help dig fibre trenches. They’ve also been instrumental in using their local contacts to help us quickly get permission to route the underground network across private land in some instances.

“It’s also worth pointing out that upgrades to full fibre don’t happen automatically. Villagers should contact their service provider to find out about switching to a faster service.”

According to independent website Think Broadband, more than 95 per cent of residents within the Sleaford and North Hykeham constituency already have access to superfast fibre coverage at speeds of 24Mbps and more. Local homes and businesses can check what services are available on the Openreach fibre checker.

Openreach recently expanded its national plans and will now make full fibre broadband available to 4.5 million homes and businesses across the UK by the end of March 2021 – an increase of more than 500,000 premises. And by the mid-to-late 2020s we want to reach 20 million premises – almost two thirds of the UK – assuming the right conditions to invest are in place.