Boost for thousands more homes and businesses as Connecting Shropshire announces £11.2m contract
Connecting Shropshire has 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.
Councillor Nic Laurens, Shropshire Council 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 till 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 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.”