Rural homes and businesses in western Kent (England) look set to benefit after two ISPs, Gigaclear and Call Flow Solutions, confirmed that they were separately aiming to improve broadband internet services to a number of overlapping local villages surrounding the town of Sevenoaks. A mix of wireless and fibre solutions will be used.
Peckham-based ISP Call Flow Solutions has already deployed a new transmitter on top of Vodafone’s local mast, which was initially only designed to make faster broadband wireless services available to Crockenhill and Well Hill (Knockholt). But the service, which covers anybody within an 11km radius, will soon also be extended to include Ightham, Ightham Common, Plaxtol, Ivy Hatch and some others parts of Seal and Sevenoaks.
Meanwhile rival Gigaclear also plans to roll-out a new 1Gbps (Gigabits per second) capable fixed line fibre optic broadband service to Godden Green, Underriver, Bitchet Green, Stone Street, Ivy Hatch, Shipbourne and part of Seal. But unlike Call Flow, Gigaclear requires 190 homes to register their interest for the service before it can proceed (This is Kent reports that they’ve currently got 150).
Andy Conibere, Call Flows Managing Director, said:
“We are delighted to have brought high speed, fibre optic and radio-based broadband to large parts of West Kent. Our expansion plans for 2013 will massively increase our radio footprint throughout Kent.
Our innovative solution offers fast internet speeds, over longer distances than our competitors using similar fibre/cabinet and radio-based technology.”
Call Flow’s solution won’t be as fast as Gigaclear’s, yet they don’t require a prior expression of interest as the service is already expected to go live during Spring 2013.
Gigaclear’s service will start at £37 a month (£100 connection fee) for their symmetric 10Mbps package (offers burst speeds up to 1000Mbps), while Call Flow tends to charge from £7.49 +vat (£82.50 +vat connection fee) for a 5Mbps wireless service with a usage allowance of just 1GB (the top 20Mbps unlimited package costs £19.16 +vat).
It’s rare to see two niche rural ISPs competing over some of the same areas and it will be interesting to see how local people react to the different choices. Will they pick the cheaper wireless solution or the faster fixed line alternative?