The village of Loewenstedt in northern Germany may be inconspicuous and sparsely populated but it is not unremarkable. The fact that the village is too small to show up on the radars of national internet operators didn’t deter its residents’ quest for staying on par with the technologically advanced world.
The villagers built a do-it-yourself broadband internet network with a very impressive speed. Data files that previously used to take two hours to load onto the computer screen now appear in just 30 seconds.
Peter Kock, a resident of the village who owns an agricultural technology supply firm, couldn't be happier. "It's brilliant. There's no comparison," he remarked. Thanks to the new high-speed connection, he can check the availability of parts much more rapidly.
But how exactly did the villagers achieve this incredible feat?
First of all, in 2012, they started to collect the funds to set up BBNG or Citizens' Broadband Network Company and build the fibre-optic network.
With around 22km of network needed to link up all of the houses to the high-speed data highway, "we would never have found a company willing to supply the necessary fibre-optics," said mayor Holger Jensen.
Around 58 other communities in Northern Friesland face similar difficulties so they got the brilliant idea of clubbing together businesses, individuals, and villages to secure access to a modern technology that is rare in most German towns and cities.
Over the years, the firm with a staff of merely five has, until now, collected more than $3.4m in funds, thanks to its 925 shareholders who each contributed a minimum of $1,363.
Now that’s how you do it.