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Rural Dorset and Wiltshire ISP Wessex Internet to Bid on £10m Fund

Thursday, February 6th, 2014 (3:10 pm) - Score 930

Wessex Internet, a niche ISP that offers superfast wireless broadband (30Mbps) services to homes and businesses in rural parts of North Dorset and South West Wiltshire (Southern England), has confirmed that it intends to bid for a slice of the government’s new £10m Competitive Fund and they appear to have the backing of the local authority.

The £31.75m Superfast Dorset project is currently using public funding to help roll-out BT’s fibre optic based (FTTC/P) broadband network to cover 97% of the county by late 2016 (95% will get superfast speeds of 25Mbps+). But that will still leave some areas on sub-25Mbps connections and this is where the new fund might be able to help.

Andrew Skipsey of Wessex Internet said (Blackmore Vale):

At last there appears to be a way a business like ours can get some backing to help complement the DCC and BT programme. This is fantastic news for rural communities in Dorset that were starting to feel neglected.”

The £10 million fund, which should open to applications from pilot projects on 17th March 2014, will “test innovative solutions to deliver superfast broadband services to the most difficult to reach areas” and appears to be looking at fixed wireless, mobile broadband (4G) and fixed line solutions.

But the big news is that the leader of Superfast Dorset, Dugald Lockhart, appears to be supporting Wessex Internet’s bid and that’s rather rare because until recently most councils and related projects only had eyes for BT (even through the separate £20m Rural Community Broadband Fund).

Prices for the existing service start at £25 inc. VAT per month for a 30Mbps connection (1Mbps uploads), 20GB usage allowance and 6 month contract term. The installation normally costs £150 and those wanting a bigger usage allowance will have to pay a lot more (£39 a month for 80GB).

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