Connecting Shropshire: 60-second briefing
What is it? Connecting Shropshire is a £45m programme to bring faster broadband to all parts of the Shropshire Council area where private companies are not going to provide it as part of their current commercial plans. We invest money with suppliers to make it commercially viable for them to invest and deliver. The networks are owned by these companies once completed.
What have we done so far? Since 2013, we’ve attracted over £37m of public investment and provided over 54,000 homes and businesses with access to superfast broadband (with download speeds in excess of 30mbps).
What technology are we deploying? Our first two contracts commissioned BT Openreach to build out their fibre broadband network. Our third contract is with a company called Airband, who have been deploying high-speed wireless broadband in rural counties since 2002.
Airband delivers broadband connectivity via a fixed wireless network. This technology allows the broadband signal to be transmitted wirelessly to a receiver. The receiver is about the size of a two-pint milk carton that is fitted to the property, within clear line of sight to an Airband transmitter. Once fitted, a cable runs from the receiver into the property and plugs into a Wi-Fi router just like any other broadband connection would.
What’s next? Connecting Shropshire, Fastershire and Superfast Telford have now received approval from DEFRA for £10.5m of European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) funding to run the Marches & Gloucestershire Viable Clusters Broadband Project. The project aims to provide further superfast broadband coverage for around 1,400 premises in the Council area. The tenders have been issued and are due back in May 2018.
What’s left to do? Connecting Shropshire’s current contracts are expected to continue into 2020 and will provide superfast broadband for a further 18,000 premises. We believe that, if all commercial providers meet their current commitments and our current contracts complete as planned, we will be close to achieving our aspiration of ensuring that all premises in the Shropshire Council area have access to better broadband by the end of 2020.
How does this benefit me? If you haven’t already switched to faster broadband, use the information on our website to check if you can upgrade, see: http://connectingshropshire.co.uk/when-and-where/. Once better broadband has been enabled in your area you will need to order an upgrade from an Internet Service Provider.
Your broadband connection will not speed up automatically.
Does it cost more? Not necessarily! The broadband infrastructure that we‘ve commissioned is open to a variety of internet service providers, so we recommend that you shop around to get the best deal by using a comparison website, such as: http://www.uswitch.com/broadband/.
What’s the alternative? If superfast broadband is not yet available in your area, you might consider applying to the Better Broadband Subsidy Scheme. If your application is successful, the Scheme will provide support towards the cost of the installation of a broadband connection.