Connecting Shropshire

July 11, 2017 / 3 comments / Permalink

Connecting Shropshire announces £11.2m broadband contract

Related topics: Funding / News / Programme delivery

On Monday 10 July 2017, Connecting Shropshire announced that Airband Community Internet Ltd will be the delivery partner for the next phase of Shropshire Council’s superfast broadband programme.

Since 2002, Airband has been providing high-speed wireless broadband access to rural areas. The Worcester-based company will be responsible for delivering superfast broadband to over 14,000 homes and businesses in the Shropshire Council area over the next three years.

Airband will be deploying wireless broadband, which works by sending a signal from a transmitter on a mast, to a receiver attached to the property. A cable is then run into the building allowing the end-user to access the Internet in the same way as any other broadband connection.

Nic Laurens, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member with responsibility for broadband, said: “I am delighted that we have secured a technology partner that can deliver superfast broadband to some of the most rural parts of the county. When this contract is completed, we expect 98% of premises in the council area to have access to superfast broadband. This means that even more people living, working and visiting Shropshire will be able to benefit from access to faster Internet connection speeds, enhancing their quality of life. The Connecting Shropshire programme runs until 2020 and will continue to work towards providing superfast broadband to all premises without access to it, and we remain confident in being able to achieve this aspiration.”

Graham Wynn OBE, Chairman of the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), said: “Slow Internet speeds are a significant barrier to business growth, which is why we secured just over £5m in our Growth Deal with the Government to help us address the issue working with our partner, Shropshire Council. As well as connecting up thousands of businesses with superfast broadband, this investment is also expected to boost our regional economy by around £220m.”

Redmond Peel, Managing Director of Airband, commented: “We are delighted to have won the contract to deploy our fixed wireless network in Shropshire. Knowing how essential high-speed broadband is, we are looking forward to working with local residents and businesses to provide fast and reliable Internet connections.

“Our experience of building masts to deploy wireless broadband services in the Midlands, Wales, Dartmoor and Exmoor has given us extensive insight into dealing with the geographical challenges that we will come across in Shropshire. Our solution uses state-of-the-art radio technology, ensuring high-speed connections where fibre broadband is not available. Using wireless overcomes many of the speed and reliability issues that are experienced with long copper cable lengths, meaning that many who have long suffered from poor broadband due to their locality will soon be able to access speeds comparable to those of their urban counterparts.”

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  1. Great news for residents of Shropshire and for Airband. Fixed Wireless Access is becoming the mainstay delivery method for high speed rural connectivity, with several counties planning Ultrafast (100Mbs+) 5G-like services. Good luck and best wishes to all. The UK Wireless Internet Service Providers Association (UKWISPA) represents this important industry for the UK.

  2. I do hope the Airband experience in Shropshire is more rewarding than mine in North Worcestershire. Having been a subscriber for over three years my overall view is one of disappointment with intermittent signal on most days and complete shut down not uncommon. The subscribers in our village are just delighted that fibre broadband is just a few months away. I wonder how much consultation with existing users took place before you signed up to spend £11 million.

    • Connecting Shropshire

      Airband’s network in North Worcestershire is part of their original network and is in scope for upgrades over the coming months. This will improve the ongoing stability and reliability of the network and will help to address the issues raised.