Connecting Shropshire

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Connecting Shropshire announces £11.2m broadband contract

July 11, 2017 / 3 comments / Permalink

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.”

For more information, please go to: http://connectingshropshire.co.uk/contract-3-airband/

July 2017 update

July 10, 2017 / 2 comments / Permalink

The latest update providing details of the outcome of the phase 2b procurement is now on the website. To view, please click on the hyperlink title of this post or paste this link into your web browser: /wp-content/uploads/2017/07/20170710-Monthly-update-July-2017.pdf

March 2017 newsletter

March 3, 2017 / Leave a comment / Permalink

The latest newsletter has just been uploaded to the website. To read about what’s been going on in the programme recently, click on the hyperlink title of this post or paste this link into your web browser: /wp-content/uploads/2017/03/20170301-Monthly-update-March-2017-1.pdf.

November 2016 newsletter

January 6, 2017 / Leave a comment / Permalink

The latest newsletter has just been uploaded to the website, follow this link /wp-content/uploads/2016/11/20161121-Monthly-update-November-2016.pdf to read about what’s been going on in the programme recently.

Bids invited for Phase 2b of the Connecting Shropshire broadband programme

November 15, 2016 / 26 comments / Permalink

Moves to bring superfast broadband to even more people in the county have been announced by Shropshire Council.

The authority is inviting bids from telecoms suppliers for the third phase of a major project to boost connectivity for residents and businesses.

Known as Phase 2b of the Connecting Shropshire broadband programme, the initiative is designed to bring fast connections in areas where no commercial provision is currently in place or planned.

Phase 2b aims to extend superfast broadband coverage to a further 16,015 premises in the Shropshire Council area using £11.7m public funding secured through funding from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (Broadband Delivery UK) and the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership. Shropshire Council has already invested £9m through two separate contracts (Phases 1 and 2a).

Whilst Phase 1 is completing this winter, Phase 2a has already commenced with planning work which will deliver to an additional 4,000 premises by winter 2017.

Bids are now being invited from specialist telecoms suppliers to plan, design, build, operate and maintain high-performance broadband networks, referred to as Next Generation Access (NGA). All solutions must be capable of supporting download speeds of over 30mbps and must offer competition and choice to broadband customers.

Steve Charmley, Deputy Leader of Shropshire Council and member responsible for broadband, said: “As we near the end of Phase 1, we’ve already provided over 55,000 homes and businesses with access to better broadband. At the same time as gearing up to deliver our Phase 2, I’m thrilled to be starting the procurement for the next phase of work. We’re eager to close all of our gaps and particularly want solutions that prioritise coverage for premises on the slowest speeds.”

Graham Wynn, Chairman of the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “Fast data connections are crucial for residents and businesses now, whoever and wherever they are. It’s important to note that, as part of this procurement, bidders are asked to offer network solutions that prioritise premises registered for business rates. Superfast broadband enables businesses to function more efficiently, increases their profitability and provides access to new markets. Our businesses have identified lack of connectivity as a barrier to growth so we are very pleased to be able to contribute Local Growth Funding to this latest push for better broadband speeds. We look forward to work getting under way.”

Telecoms suppliers have until 30 January 2017 to prepare and submit their bids. Shropshire Council expects to award contract(s) in March 2017.

The procurement excludes additional funding that Shropshire Council is expecting to receive as part of its Phase 1 contract. Where customers choose to take-up fibre broadband once it is available, the Council receives ‘clawback’ that is estimated at £2.2m to date. This money will remain ring-fenced for further broadband investment.

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