Neenton gets New Year’s ultrafast broadband boost

February 7, 2020

A small village in the heart of Shropshire has been given the gift of ultrafast speed broadband for 2020 thanks to the Connecting Shropshire programme.

Connecting Shropshire and Airband have today announced that Airband’s ultrafast fibre network is now live in Neenton.

Many houses in Neenton, near Bridgnorth, have suffered with connection speeds of less than 2 Mbps making it a proper digital ‘not spot’. The new fibre optic broadband network will mean that premises can get connected to a broadband service with a download speed of up to 100 Mbps, which is enough to download an HD movie in 2.5 minutes.

The Pheasant at Neenton is a community-owned pub and Airband is providing a free connection for the pub as part of its commitment to championing community values and better connectivity for rural communities.

John Pickup, Chairman of Neenton Parish Meeting and Neenton Community Society which owns and operates the Pheasant, said he was delighted the village will be the first site for Airband’s new rural fibre deployment.

Neenton is a go-ahead, collaborative community – we work together for the common good, so we’re very excited about being able to have ultrafast broadband. Having a free connection for the pub which is our community hub is the icing on the proverbial cake!” he said.

Ultrafast connectivity really will transform things round here and enable people to work remotely and make use of all kinds of software and applications that they couldn’t before.”

Airband is delivering ultrafast fibre broadband to 40 clusters across Shropshire in the final stage of its contract with Connecting Shropshire. It has already delivered superfast connectivity to 10,500 premises and this ultrafast rollout will deliver ultrafast connectivity to a further 2,200 premises. 

Dave Lloyd, head of projects at Airband, said that he was delighted with how smoothly the process had gone. 

Bringing ultrafast to Neenton represents everything that Airband is about – we are transforming connectivity for people and communities who deserve better. It’s so rewarding to be able to provide such a vast improvement in broadband speeds and the reaction and appreciation from the villagers here has been incredible.

We have already started planning and surveying for the remaining clusters. And when we build our ultrafast networks, we use existing infrastructure wherever possible (e.g., existing poles and underground ducts), which means we can set up an ultrafast fibre network very rapidly.

Once we start building a network in an area, the process from ordering to installation should take just a few weeks,” he said. 

Airband’s fibre roll-out in Shropshire includes premises in the following parish and town council areas: Astley Abbotts, Barrow, Bicton, Hodnet, Llanfair Waterdine, Market Drayton, Pimhill, Prees, Sheriffhales and Tong. All clusters are expected to be live by early 2021. 

Lee Chapman, Portfolio Holder for Transformation and Digital Infrastructure, said: “I’m really glad to see that Airband are integrating ‘full fibre’ technology into their deployment plans. Access to ultrafast broadband is something we know the Government is eager to support in rural areas. As the roll-out of fibre networks progresses through 2020, we expect Airband to be able to offer more fibre connections to other premises along the way.”

The project to deliver better connectivity to Shropshire is supported by the Marches LEP, which secured more than £8m of Growth Deal funding specifically to improve access to high speed broadband in Herefordshire, Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin.

Mandy Thorn, Chairman of the Marches LEP, said: “It’s great to see this technology being rolled out in Shropshire. We know that a lack of connectivity hinders business growth and this demonstrates how the LEP is delivering real change to rural communities.” 

Robert Tindall, Shropshire Councillor for the Brown Clee division, said: “This is great news for Neenton and The Pheasant in particular. 1,000 premises in my electoral division already have access to a superfast broadband connection, thanks to Shropshire Council’s Connecting Shropshire broadband programme. Over the next 12 months, 100 homes and businesses in my division are expected to gain access to Airband’s ultrafast broadband networks.”

To find out if you’re in Airband’s current or planned coverage area, please enter your postcode at: or Airband on call 01905 676121 during office hours.

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The Marches Local Enterprise Partnership has now ceased trading and transferred all its functions to Shropshire Council working with Telford & Wrekin Council and Herefordshire Council, in line with the UK Government's plans for devolution.

The Marches LEP was established in 2011 and hands over an impressive legacy from its 13-year life. In that time the LEP invested over £196m in projects across the Marches, securing in excess of £100m of match funding and supported more than 66,000 business interactions.

The schemes supported have made tangible differences to local communities, increasing skills, creating jobs and improving the physical appearance of many towns.

We would like to thank all the LEP Board Members who have given their time freely over the life of the LEP, as well as all the staff who worked for the LEP over the years. We also want to thank our delivery partners, local education providers and local, regional and national stakeholders who helped us achieve so much.

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