An internet service provider in Dorset has been crowned as the best 'Rural Enterprise' at a national awards ceremony dubbed the “Rural Oscars”.

Wessex Internet, which is based in Shroton, claimed the title for South West of England as part of the Countryside Alliance Awards 2024.

The Countryside Alliance Awards which are now in their 17th year recognise rural businesses across five categories, this includes:

  • ‘Best local food’
  • ‘Best butcher’
  • ‘Best pub’
  • ‘Best rural enterprise’
  • ‘Best village shop/post office’

Sarah Lee, Countryside Alliance director of policy, commented: "We are proud to be honouring these exceptional rural businesses, and the people behind them who are passionate about providing quality goods, services, and employment to rural communities and beyond.

"Running a business in a rural community isn’t easy, and it’s so important to celebrate the valued role these rural enterprises have in their communities. We look forward to seeing them in London at the national champions reception!"

The full list of regional winners can be found on the Countryside Alliance Awards website here.

Wessex Internet claims award at 'Rural Oscars'

Wessex Internet is an internet service provider that is building a full-fibre network "that connects and serves even the most remote countryside communities".

On its website, it adds: "From Cranborne Chase to the Dorset coast, and South Somerset, to the hidden depths of the New Forest, we're proud to offer our customers broadband the way it should be - fast, reliable and affordable."

It prides itself on being a local and independent business looking to end the "digital divide" in rural communities.

The company adds: "Our mission is to ensure that rural communities aren't left behind forever."

Recommended reading:

Discussing winning the award Hector Gibson Fleming, CEO at Wessex Internet, said: "For Wessex Internet, this follows recent recognition as Best Rural Internet Provider at the 2023 ISPA Awards and as Overall Fibre Provider of the Year at the 2023 UK Fibre Awards.

"To now be acknowledged more widely as a leading Rural Enterprise, as well as leaders in our sector, is particularly special, as these countryside-focused awards recognise values that are very important to us.

“We have always sought to be champions and enablers of the rural economy – through providing ultrafast broadband to areas overlooked by other companies, as an employer of choice for hundreds of local people, and by working in consultation with rural communities and landowners in how we build our network."