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Hampshire UK Council Offer Grants for Alternative Rural Broadband Services

Wednesday, August 1st, 2012 (1:57 pm) - Score 692
hampshire uk map

The Hampshire County Council (HCC) has quietly launched a new Alternative Broadband Pilot scheme, which borrows an idea from Wales by offering grants worth up to £300 to help “Not Spot” homes in rural areas install an “alternative” broadband service that can provide broadband speeds of more than 2Mbps+.

The scheme, which is only available to premises that “fall into the last 10% of properties“, is currently looking to be trialled by an initial 10 – 15 households and small businesses. Apparently a “range of the new alternative technologies” are involved.

HCC Statement

A one-off grant of up to £300 is available towards the installation of an ‘alternative’ broadband service that will provide you with improved broadband speeds greater than 2Mbps. Broadband delivered over standard telephone lines also known as ADSL, is excluded for the purposes of this grant, as these telephone lines will be upgraded through the commercial market.

The alternative technology trial is designed to inform Hampshire County Council’s broadband plans. Although the Government has made a commitment that every premise in the country will have access to broadband by 2015, the funding available will only be adequate to deliver superfast broadband to 90% of the population. The local authority’s role is to improve speeds for those people living in the predominantly rural areas that the commercial market currently doesn’t reach.

An article on Thinkbroadband today suggests that satellite ISP Bentley Walker is already involved with the pilot, although it’s unclear what other operators and technologies (if any) might also be taking part. Further details can be found below.

Alternative Broadband Pilot
http://www3.hants.gov.uk/broadband/broadband-pilot.htm

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Mark Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he is also the founder of ISPreview since 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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1 Response
  1. DTMark

    Hampshire is something like 80% rural by geography and 20% by population. So it’s a real challenge.

    But, what challenge? What is the objective?

    If the objective is to supply 2Mbps or better, then that can already be met by a mix of 3G and satellite. We know this already and it doesn’t really require grants or trials.

    I’ve trialled all the possibilities at this location – ADSL and 3G HSPA from most of the operators, eventually settling on the most performant – a roof mounted antenna and HSPA router connected to the 3 network which supplies 4Mbps to 6Mbps down and 1.5Mbps up with latency in the region of 60ms.

    It can’t stream high-definition TV (except very late at night now and again). It just about suffices and would suit an occasional homeworker. I struggle with it daily, because it’s still narrowband and pitiably slow. I have to pop to the postbox later on to post a DVD to a client with only 2GB of files on it.

    3G suffices until half a dozen other people – and that’s all it would take – also drop their PSTN lines in favour of 3G. I’ve tracked down the “other person” who has also done just that. That’s probably when my speeds took a dive from the constant just manageable 6Mbps to the lower ranges, pushing the speed back into the realms of narrowband and making homeworking difficult.

    I am tempted to apply in order to trial the WiBe (though I can’t honestly imagine it would make a great difference, still only HSPA not HSPA+) or satellite – which might actually be quicker. Possibly, the quickest option here. Data costs are still not conducive to streaming stuff, however.

    I can’t help but think that the option missing is “Wi-Fi network”. Clearly, not an option, as it is not available here.

    But, in terms of going forward, if the two options are 1. Give everyone £300+ to try out 3G or satellite or 2. Install Wi-Fi there are going to be areas where the latter is better, cheaper, and has a future.

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