Choosing to live as far from cities as I can, as often as I can, I spend a lot of time on the cusp of sanity trying to do my online job, keep up with the news, and keep in touch with the people I care about over a cellular connection that stays attached to my carrier's network by a thread. On rainy days, or the frequent times when the gods have had enough of my bullshit, I can't connect at all, forcing me to put my life on hold. It's a part of choosing to live in the country! As mad as I've gotten at my lousy connection speeds in the past, I don't think I've ever wanted to connect to YouTube badly enough that I was willing to dig 15 miles of trenches to make it happen — but that's exactly what the residents of a small village in Wales did.
Michaelston-y-Fedw, located between Cardiff and Newport in the United Kingdom, has a population of around 300 people. They were all putting up with shitty internet, with speeds as slow as 4Mbps. It was possible to pay for high-speed broadband service in Michaelston-y-Fedw — someone is always willing to take your money — but the infrastructure to pipe the bandwidth into the village didn't exist. Sick of their internet connectivity being caught in the late 1990s, some of the villagers got to drinking, which led to talking and, after a bit more drinking, resulted in a plan: They'd sort the mess out themselves.
From The Guardian:
A community interest company was set up and grants secured from the Welsh government but to keep the costs to householders down it was decided that as much work as possible would be done by villagers themselves.
Local farm workers have been hired to help dig, but villagers have done much of the work, including excavating trenches from the boundaries of their properties to the external wall where the fibre enters their homes.
Thanks to the villagers' efforts, 90% of their community will be able to enjoy broadband connection speeds of up to 1,000 Mbps by the fall.
The project is a wonderful example of how even just a few individuals getting together for a common cause can change the world for the better.
Image via Pixabay