AB Internet has told ISPreview.co.uk, as part of our exclusive interview, that the Valuation Office Agency’s review of how its business rates can be applied to fixed wireless networks could result in a “whole segment of society” being “digitally marooned“. The ISP also warned against an “all roads must lead to fibre” approach to broadband.
The ISP, which describes itself as a next-generation fixed wireless provider that can offer speeds from 2Mbps to 1Gbps, currently serves 10,000+ users across various parts of the United Kingdom (i.e. Wales, Lincolnshire and parts of Scotland) and usually focuses on the more challenging locations (e.g. rural areas).
Most recently AB Internet has also been in the news after it won a major new £300,000 project to deploy a 50Mbps capable wireless broadband network on the rural East Coast of Lincolnshire (England), which has already connected its first customers (here).
On top of that they’ve now announced plans to expand by offering a new range of fixed line fibre optic and copper based business connectivity services via over 3,500 exchanges across the country. As a result ISPreview.co.uk was keen to learn more about AB Internet’s experience and their perspective on broadband provision in the UK as a smaller wireless ISP. Thankfully AB’s Sales & Marketing Director, Neil Tucker, was happy to help out.
Q1. Earlier this year AB Internet won a competitive tender process, run by Lincolnshire County Council and funded by £300k from the ERDF (Europe), to help it roll-out a 50Mbps capable superfast broadband service into two rural areas and several villages on the east coast of Lincolnshire in England. Since then the first customers have now gone live. Can you tell us a little more about this project and why it’s needed?
Lincolnshire County Council was a real trailblazer here. Long before other UK councils, they understood that if they were to help successfully deliver superfast services to the most challenging parts of the county (the second largest in the UK) they would need to champion a creative solution. Subsequently LCC published a tender in the Spring of 2012, for the creation of a Superfast Pilot Project. Bidders were asked to offer Superfast Network proposals for any one of three ‘intervention areas’ that were already known to have significant connectivity problems.
AB Internet proposed an extension of its existing national Fixed Wireless Access network, to include not just one, but two of the areas of special interest. These are the areas that surround Ingoldmells and Boston in Eastern Lincolnshire and will have ubiquitous coverage of our Essential Broadband Service, from 2MB to 50MB
Of the 10 or so proposed sites, we have currently rolled out 3. One of these is possibly the most unusual location we have ever used for a Point of Presence, it’s on top of a roller coaster! Not only does this ride at Fantasy Island give a commanding view of the surrounding area, but in the attraction, we have a very supportive local customer and business partner, who until this point only had 0.5MB, so for them, a 50MB service is transforming their business.
The feedback from our new customers is simply awesome and it’s really fantastic for us to be part of something that literally changes lives. Overnight, people have gone from