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Wireless ISP to Fill Broadband Notspots in Essex UK by Using Churches

Tuesday, October 15th, 2013 (8:42 am) - Score 1,787

The Diocese of Chelmsford has selected local wireless ISP County Broadband to help fill in some of the Internet slowspots and notspots around Essex (England) by allowing them to build a new 32Mbps (Megabits per second) capable network via local churches.

The new network be designed to focus on areas that will be missed out by the local £25m Superfast Essex project, which aims to rollout BT’s “fibre broadband” (FTTC/P) platform to around 87% of premises by the end of summer 2016 (the rest will get speeds of at least 2Mbps). This is of course assuming they can correctly identify where those areas will actually be (recent deployment maps have suffered from a lack of detail).

Apparently the Diocoese of Chelmsford includes around 500 church towers across Essex, which would be ideal for County Broadband’s solution. A similar setup has also been successfully used by fixed wireless ISPs in other areas, such as via WiSpire and AllPay Broadband.

Rev Julie Nelson, Rural Officer for the Diocese, said (EADT24):

The Church is interested in community health and community resilience and today an essential requirement for any community is broadband – it’s the fourth utility. Young families are choosing not to live in areas where broadband service is poor and local businesses are considering moving out – trends that threaten the long-term sustainability of rural communities.

We aren’t knocking what BT are doing but there will be gaps scattered across the county where people still won’t receive a good broadband service – as much as 13% of people could still be in this position. It could be the case that half a village might get a good service and half might not and because we are right on the ground in the community we will know where the gaps are and where we can help.”

County Broadband’s service, which already reaches into more than 60 rural parishes, tends to cost from £99 to install and service rentals start at £10.99 a month for a BASIC community 1Mbps broadband connection (this tops out at 8Mbps for £29.99). But the ISPs latest next generation (NGA) network is significantly faster and can deliver top symmetric speeds of 32Mbps for £34.99 with a 100GB usage allowance (a free 0.5Mbps service is also offered alongside other options).

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Mark Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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5 Responses
  1. Avatar Andy Thomson

    I run a small design business from home and have struggled with poor broadband services for years. The one thing that everybody misses when talking about the new Superfast Essex project and rural broadband in general is the fact that BTs copper wire infrastructure is old and worn out and no longer fit for purpose. After many years of nagging BT to fix things it is quite clear there is no intention to invest in new cables which will be needed to get anywhere near the 2Mb minimum proposed for rural areas of Essex. If you live in any of the more rural villages, don’t hold your breath waiting for a standard service down the phone line as it isn’t going to happen – wireless systems will be the only viable option.

  2. We have been a long established garden centre and grower in the heart of Essex, and our move into the 21st century by the means of an online mail order service couldn’t of been possible with out the help of this rural broadband service. We have increased our turnover by 120% in the first 2 years, and now have a voip phone system which BT’s internet couldn’t supply us. We can’t wait to see the countryside prosper again!

  3. Avatar Dave

    Hi,

    I think this service sounds fantastic but a 100GB cap for such a fast connection seems a little low these days, especially if this is for upload and download combined. The average (big budget) downloadable PC game currently is around 10-20GB and the new games consoles arriving this month have games to the order of 50GB+! Combined with streaming something like Netflix (5-10GB per film) I’d be hitting this cap in a week or two at the most 🙁

    Are you considering offering a higher cap for heavy use?

    Thanks

  4. Avatar Richard

    Yeah, I’d love to have 32Mb/s but that 100GB usage cap is really stingy for the premium level. On my current 4Mbps-ish line I’m averaging over 80GB in a month already, so I’d be looking to use much more than 100GB when on a decent speed line.

    Gamers and heavy film streamers / downloaders need more than 100GB these days….

  5. We are currently reviewing our data allowances and will look upgrade our packages soon. I would suggest checking with is in the fist quarter of next year for updates.

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