A German village on the border with Denmark and close to the North Sea, Löwenstedt had internet at appalling speeds and no prospect to get anything better. The telecom companies love the revenue from connecting whole city populations, but they hate to spend money to bring decent high speed internet to the countryside. What to do?
The villagers decided to try and build their own network but it was going to be expensive.
First of all they worked out how much they’d need to raise and came to the figure of €2.5 million euros ($3.4 million). This meant at least 68 percent of Löwenstedt residents had to sign up to the scheme for it to be viable.
Each person had to pay in at least €1,000 into the company; €100 to become a shareholder and another €900 as a loan. None of the villagers were forced to join the scheme but in the end 94 percent put down cash.
The Citizens’ Broadband Network managed to raise the necessary sum and negotiated a long term bank loan, which they expect to be able to pay off in 30 years’ time.
Quoted from RT http://rt.com/news/163412-german-village-own-broadband/
“It’s nothing new to people here to do things for themselves. This is about preserving a culture and a way of life. These villages will not survive without a broadband connection,” said Sabine Birkigt, who is one of five local women who run Bürger Breitband Netz (Citizens’ Broadband Network), the company the villagers set-up.
Eventually, the goal is to extend the network to 59 villages in the area that have similar problems, but so far, the uptake is slow as each village has to come up with the basic finances needed to join the network.
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