A VILLAGE has become the first rural community in the county to benefit from multi-million pound Superfast Lancashire broadband.

The 240 premises in Belthorn were able to connect to super fast fibre broadband from yesterday.

The move comes after a damning report by The Commons Public Accounts Committee said the Government had failed to ensure proper competition by awarding all 26 rural broadband contracts to BT - a claim BT argues is ‘wrong’.

Belthorn residents and business owners were pleased to finally have a fast connection, after struggling for years with an unreliable internet service.

Dog Inn landlord, Nicholas Parker said: “We offer free wi-fi to customers but with the connection, it was hit and miss. Now, we plan to offer a wireless hub for business customers to hold meetings, a sports hub so fans can watch games on their hand-held devices, and an entertainment hub.”

Ian Billing of Belthorn Road firm, UK Insulations Ltd, said his company was looking forward to being able to hold video conferences with clients in China and South America.

He said: “The fact that we are a relatively small enterprise in a tiny village doesn’t matter in the digital world.”

The Openreach network is open to all providers, meaning that residents will be able to choose from a number of different fibre broadband suppliers and not limited to a BT service.