Wansdyke Telecom CIC has started laying its fibre optic broadband network. Directors and other community volunteers braved the weather to help dig the first trenches that will bring superfast broadband to rural communities in North East Somerset.

The group,who are a Community Interest Company, formed in 2013 as part of a community initiative to deliver broadband, phone, TV and mobile services to those living and working in the hard-to-reach rural communities to the south and west of Bath. Together, using volunteers to lay the fibre needed for faster broadband speeds, they hope to be able to supply telecom services to those living in Bath and North East Somerset at competitive rates, to ensure that a reliable service is provided to those who need it most and is maintained by the community itself.

Wansdyke's David Bland, said: "This is what everyone's been waiting for. It's a big day for all of us. This really shows what can happen when local communities work together to make a major difference to our rural lifestyle. So many people have contributed, investors, broadband champions, landowners and farmers. They've worked so hard and offered us so much support to make this day happen. We can now say a big thank you and say look, we're off and running!"

Wansdyke successfully raised the money needed to get started through an SEIS Investment Scheme. David Bland adds: "I am enormously grateful to our initial

investors. They have shown a huge amount of support for what we are doing. Today, we can show them that we're not just an idea, we're a fully functioning infrastructure company. Our job now is to get our message out there: if you want fibre optic broadband to your home or business in North East Somerset, we're the real game in town. Invest in us and we'll make it happen."

From its creation last year by residents and business owners based in North East Somerset, Wansdyke's aim has been to bring the community together to deliver better rural broadband. Wansdyke's Evan Weinburg said: "It's been a long process of learning and filling the gaps in our knowledge, but we have now established our connection to the internet in London and can start to build our network, a network that will stretch across North East Somerset, giving everyone the potential to enjoy 1,000 megabits per second. Not only that, but this fibre optic infrastructure will be owned and maintained by the people of North East Somerset."

Clarke and Sue Osborne, two of Wansdyke's pathfinder investors from Stanton Wick, said: "A good broadband connection is so crucial in the modern world and with so many of us struggling with less than two megabits per second, that, for me, this project is a no brainer! I've bought shares in Wansdyke Telecom CIC and I hope others will, too. I'm not expecting huge returns in the short term, but I am hoping for a really good broadband connection very soon!"

Wansdyke Telecom is promising fibre optic broadband to every community in North East Somerset that wants it. The group will begin demonstrating its Gigabit service from this Friday, 7th February, in Newton St Loe.

"This marks the start of a transformation in everyone's broadband experience," said David Bland. "It is so exciting to think that we'll be bringing speeds 1,000 times faster than many of our rural communities are receiving today, where residents and businesses struggle to be part of the digital revolution. To actually be digging trenches and laying fibre is physical proof that we're on our way."

The initiative, which is backed by the Duchy of Cornwall, is looking for anyone interested in investing or volunteering to get the service rolled out. As well as broadband, they are hoping to provide mobile and landline phone coverage, as well as on demand television services.

Anyone interested in the scheme can contact the group through their website: http://www.wansdyketele.com">www.wansdyketele.com