VIDEO: Web campaign unites Barnsley residents

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It’s been a tireless two years of campaigning for Jon Clapham.

He first approached BT in 2011 about improving the broadband speed on the Barnsley estate where he lives - where 319 houses are struggling with an internet connection of around just one megabit.

Jon Clapham from Dodworth

Jon Clapham from Dodworth

“Streaming films, Facetime, updating apps - forget it, our internet can’t handle any of it,” Jon said.

“It makes working from home a near impossibility and us unable to enjoy many of the new technologies.”

Jon, who has lived on the Water Royd Drive estate for 13 years, asked BT about installing a street cabinet with fibre optic cables to improve the speed.

But he was told it was not ‘financially viable’.

But Jon didn’t give up – he bombarded BT with emails and petitions and contacted MPs to ask for support.

Eventually BT agreed, provided residents could raise £11,000 towards the cost.

Jon said: “I was ready to throw the towel in at that point, I didn’t relish the idea of knocking on doors and asking strangers for money.”

But he held a meeting to gauge interest and was amazed when more than 70 residents turned out.

They elected a spokesman for each cul-de-sac on the estate, responsible for approaching the people on their own street.

“The response was better than I could have hoped for,” said Jon.

“In just two weeks our team managed to get responses from almost every house.

“Many of them were up for chipping in, which could mean a one-off payment of as little as £35 to £50 per household to improve our speeds by up to 80 times in the next few months.

“It’s been wonderful to see everybody pull together.”

n For details of the campaign, visit