Airband – first customer connected
Airband has announced that the first customer on the Connecting Shropshire project has gone live in Tong, near Shifnal, Shropshire.
The project, part of the UK Government’s superfast broadband rollout and supported by the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership, is part of an £11.2m contract to extend Superfast broadband to 14,000+ local premises by 2020.
IT security manager Andrew Lee and his wife Sulayma are the first to be installed with Superfast broadband under the first phase of the project. The couple have been waiting for faster broadband for four years and are delighted to now have a Superfast broadband connection from Airband.
Andrew said: “We live in a tiny village with just 46 houses three miles from Shifnal, close to Cosford airbase, but our communications have always been poor. When BT upgraded the exchange in Albrighton it didn’t make any difference to us, so we were really keen to get a better connection with Airband.”
“It’s a challenging location so installation wasn’t straightforward. I think this is because we are in a valley and it took a while to establish line-of-sight connection and also because our house is a listed building. They were very patient and thorough and to be honest I’m overjoyed with the results.”
“Before our Airband connection, we had download speed of 2.5 Mbps. Streaming stuff was awful – it was always buffering, and working from home was almost impossible. Now we have 30 Mbps and I am able to work from home when I need to.”
Dave Lloyd, project manager at Airband, said: “Rural Shropshire suffers with some of the poorest broadband speeds in the UK, and we are delighted to be playing a significant role in turning this situation around. This key milestone highlights the progress we’re making to help connect rural residents across the county. The project will be going live in five phases. Phase 1 of the project is due to complete in Spring and involves 28 transmitter sites. During this period, Airband will be making Superfast broadband available to 7,000 homes. Further areas will be going live incrementally as the network is created.”
At present, Airband is offering a range of Superfast broadband packages to suit everyone, from £10 to £42 per month, dependent on data and speed requirements.
Nic Laurens, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member with responsibility for broadband, commented: “Making superfast broadband available to 14,000+ homes and businesses by the end of 2020 will be a boost to Shropshire’s economy. We want to improve the personal and professional lives of people in Shropshire and delivering better broadband services is a key part of this aim. The first live customer on the new Airband network is a landmark that we feel very excited about. We’re very pleased with the progress Airband is making and we look forward to their roll-out of this project over the coming months and years.”
This week’s first live customer announcement comes just a few weeks after Connecting Shropshire and Airband announced the live launch of the first transmitter site, serving over 300 homes and businesses. The transmitter provides superfast broadband connectivity of 30Mbps to parts of Sheriffhales and Shifnal parishes, and other communities further east, such as Tong. Now that the network for phase 1 is well underway, it is anticipated that Superfast broadband will be available to 7,000 homes by the end of Spring this year.
Airband’s deployment of fixed wireless broadband works by sending a radio signal from a transmitter site to a small 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.