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Super Switch On Day sees fibre broadband go live in rural UK

A whole heap of green fibre broadband boxes have gone live around the country, connecting up previously tardy streets in rural towns and villages.

Happy Super Switch On Day! What do you mean, you didn't know that was a thing? Didn't you get me anything?! Super Switch On Day is when a whole heap of green fibre broadband boxes go live around the country, connecting up previously tardy streets in rural towns and villages.

It's a joint scheme between the government, local councils and BT, with your taxes making it worth BT's while to roll out the fibre to small places with too few people to make it profitable.

Places with boosted broadband from today include the Cotswolds, Wiltshire and South Gloucestershire in the West Country; Hampshire, Kent and Medway in the South East; and Cheshire and Shropshire in the North West.

"This will provide a real boost for residents and local businesses," Wiltshire County council cabinet member John Thomson told the Western Daily Press as the green boxes came online in the sleepy country town of Royal Wooton Bassett. "We have worked hard with our partners to get to this stage and look forward to announcing more communities soon who will benefit from superfast broadband."

The total number of new connections today is around 5,000, according to the Telegraph, but the government says it's on track to offer fibre to 95 per cent of the country by 2017, up from around 75 per cent today. The final 5 per cent may eventually be covered by 4G mobile broadband, with some of the spectrum released for 4G ideally suited to covering the countryside.

The UK is now "well ahead of other major European countries in many respects", according to Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport Maria Miller. That's true to some extent, with Britain's average broadband speed outpacing Germany, France and Italy earlier this year, but lagging smaller countries such as Ireland and, er, Romania.

British Web speeds are gradually increasing, according to the latest figures from movie-streaming service Netflix, with an average speed of nearly 2.5Mbps in October. That's ahead of the US, but trails the Netherlands and the Scandinavian countries.

Have you got fibre in your town? Has it made a big difference to how you use the Internet? Should the government be doing more? Zip down to the comments below, or over to our pacey Facebook page.