Residents in a Northumberland village who have been hampered by poor internet speeds for many years received a welcome early Christmas present.
People living in Hebron were recently invited to the parish church to collect a free broadband wireless router courtesy of Three UK.
Despite having a cabinet fitted by BT in August this year, they still had to rely on old broadband lines for their internet access.
Before now, the only way for residents to access high speed internet was to pay for costly line upgrades themselves.
Three’s Home-Fi system has been developed to help those who have issues due to their geographical location or who do not want to commit to broadband with a landline. Users connect to the internet via the Three mobile phone network.
Andrew Kelly, a Hebron resident for 45 years and a parish councillor, said: “The internet connection in Hebron has been a problem ever since the internet arrived.
“We rely on the copper cable that runs here for internet access. It often causes distortion and means residents have never had the luxury of high speed broadband.
“I run a strategic human resources consultancy from my home, so it’s not an option for me to be offline and therefore out of touch with candidates and clients.
“As a result, I have to have fixed broadband as back up and a portable wi-fi device that I use for my internet needs, which is very costly.”
The wireless routers require a mobile broadband SIM to work – they were included in the packages given to Hebron residents – but there are no lengthy installations required and up to 32 wireless devices can be connected to the router.
Mony Kochupillai, head of customer strategy at Three, said: “We believe everybody should have access to fast internet and we’re on a mission to get the people of Hebron online, so they’re able to enjoy reliable and high speed internet from the comfort of their homes.”
The equipment comes loaded with free data, which could keep residents online for up to one year depending on how they choose to use their home broadband units.
Dave Ledger of Northumberland County Council said: “We’re delighted that Three has visited Hebron so residents can finally get up to speed – whether it’s for business or personal use.”
For more information about the services available, visit www.three.co.uk/Store/Mobile_Broadband