The popular local retailer and restaurant is one of the first to go live with Gigaclear’s pure fibre ultrafast broadband service, which will now rollout to thousands of others in West Berkshire as part of Phase 2 of the Superfast Berkshire project.

The switch on will make a huge difference to the business, as well as to customers visiting the farm shop, Café or Play Barn, who are now able to access Internet speeds up to 30 times faster than the UK average.

Tom Newey, owner of the Cobbs Farm Shop and Kitchen, said: “The farm shop is a popular place for local people to meet, eat and shop. Previously, we only had up to 6Mbps speeds, which just isn’t enough. We’re hoping to set up a new ‘click and collect’ service for customers in the New Year. The sky is the limit when it comes to how we can use the service to grow the business, but ultimately it’s the customers who will benefit.”

Local residents, members of West Berkshire Council and representatives from Gigaclear were all in attendance today to celebrate the service going live.

Lawrence Hiscock, who lives in one of the 12,000 properties set to benefit from the ultrafast service, is the first resident customer. Commenting on the milestone, he said: “When my wife and I watch TV, we mostly watch on demand services, so the faster service will certainly make a difference to our TV viewing. We will have much better experience now with faster Internet speed. Our three year old son is looking forward to a much better experience while Skyping his Grandma!”

Residents and business owners in surrounding communities, such as Hungerford, East Garston, Kintbury and Lambourn, will also benefit from these superfast speeds as the roll out continues into the New Year.

Gigaclear’s investment of £16m, combined with contributions from BDUK, the West Berkshire Council, and Thames Valley Berkshire Local Enterprise Partnership, means that phase 2 of the project will see superfast coverage expand to in excess of 99% of West Berkshire by 2017. Gigaclear’s pure fibre ultrafast broadband network, using Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) technology, will give 12,000 homes and business in the area access to broadband speeds from 50Mbps up to 1000Mbps. These speeds will enable a three hour feature film to be downloaded in 53 seconds, 23 songs could take 1.6 seconds, and 200 photos will take less than 9 seconds to upload.

Matthew Hare, chief executive at Gigaclear, said: “What’s most impressive is that this farm shop in rural West Berkshire already have great ideas as to how they can improve the service they offer their customers using brilliant broadband: click and collect from Cobbs is just the beginning. The pure Fibre-to-the-Premises network that Gigaclear has been installing over the last few weeks will make this service available to the first homes and businesses here in West Berkshire before Christmas, a busy time for us all. Property by property, the Gigaclear network will transform the lives of residents and competitiveness of businesses across the region for the better. And in the long term, the pure fibre Gigaclear network’s speed and capacity is future-proofed and will not need updating over time as broadband requirements grow.”

West Berkshire councillor, Dominic Boeck, said; “It is fantastic to see a real life example of where superfast broadband really makes a difference to both businesses and homeowners alike. Residents and business owners in surrounding communities will now be looking forward to benefiting from these superfast speeds as the roll out continues into the New Year.”