H&M boss helps bring superfast broadband to village

Stefan Persson and his staff dug a 3km trench across his estate so BT could run fibre cabling from a neighbouring village.

The billionaire chairman of global fashion chain H&M Stefan Persson and his staff have assisted in bringing superfast broadband to the Wiltshire village of Axford.

Over a two-week period, they worked to dig a 3km trench across his nearby 780-acre Ramsbury estate which would allow BT to run fibre cabling from the neighbouring village of Aldbourne.
Mr Persson and some of the other villagers had previously contacted the telecommunications giant about the frustratingly slow broadband speed they’d been experiencing but were told it would cost an eye-watering £170,000 for the relevant infrastructure to be installed.

This combined with the fact that the village was not to be included in BT’s planned rollout of superfast broadband in 2020 and 2021 across the area prompted Sweden’s richest man to take immediate action.

“We decided that it was not acceptable,” said Mr Persson’s estate manager Alistair Ewing. “So we thought OK, we will do all the digging and trenching and laying directly.”

Their joint efforts worked to knock an impressive £90,000 off the bill, reducing the price from £170,000 down to a considerably less £80,000.

“It was absolutely a very generous gesture,” said Axford resident Nick Swan. “Without the Ramsbury estate we would never be here. Without their help we would never have been able to have broadband in this village."

Last month, the government stated that high-speed broadband would become a legal right for everyone in the UK by 2020.

Source: The Telegraph

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