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Welsh Wireless Broadband ISP Xwavia Secures £1.2m Finance Wales Loan

Friday, May 9th, 2014 (3:11 pm) - Score 1,111

Powys-based wireless broadband ISP eXwavia Xwavia has, following last month’s report by ISPreview.co.uk (here), confirmed that they’ve secured an investment of £1.2 million from Finance Wales to help make faster Internet connectivity available to more rural parts of Wales in the United Kingdom. The first areas to benefit will be in Conwy.

Finance Wales typically provides short-term loan finance from the Wales Capital Growth Fund, which can be used to help Welsh SMEs “tender for larger contracts or increase purchasing power“. Xwavia intends to use this new investment to expand its HQ in Welshpool with new jobs, improve its infrastructure, expand their network capacity and boost service speeds (at present their fastest “Home” package is 20Mbps).

As part of this investment Xwavia said that it will soon launch the first phase of a new network in Conwy (North Wales), which would also help to create more jobs at its site in Riverside Business Park. It’s worth pointing out that parts of Conwy are already expected to be covered by the state aid supported Superfast Cymru project with BT (here).

Xwavia’s update suggests that the reason for their roll-out in this new area is, oddly, because it will be one of the last places to benefit from the Government’s scheme, which hopefully doesn’t mean that they’re going to waste money deploying in areas that are already destined to be covered (i.e. duplication of public investment). A better bet would be to focus on the excluded areas but the announcement lacks detail about precisely where Xwavia intends to go.

Interestingly the update reveals that Xwavia also intends to make use of the Welsh Government‘s revised Access Broadband Cymru (ABC) scheme, which provides grants of up to £1,000 per premise in areas which have “slow broadband connections” (i.e. sub-2Mbps). The ABC setup replaced the almost identical Broadband Support Scheme earlier this year but has faced concern over its eligibility criteria, which could prevent some legitimate applicants from applying (here).

Mike Brown, CEO of Xwavia, said:

We are delighted to secure this investment from Finance Wales, which will allow us to increase the speed and reach of our network. Over the next three years, we will use this additional capital to extend our network across Wales to provide much-needed access to superfast broadband.

Currently, many residents and business owners do not have access high speed broadband and this is negatively effecting the Welsh economy. We are therefore extending our service to ensure that individuals and businesses are provided with access to the high-quality broadband services they need and deserve.

Superfast broadband is a necessity which allows businesses to compete more effectively. It provides an opportunity to improve financial management, marketing efforts, human resources and customer relationships, and the extension of our network will make this possible for more businesses in Wales than ever before.”

Jerry Mobbs, Deputy Portfolio Manager at Finance Wales, added:

Xwavia has made some impressive achievements since it was established and now has even more ambitious plans to increase the availability of superfast broadband throughout Wales. This could play a significant role in building the Welsh economy in future, opening up a wealth of new local and global opportunities for both citizens and businesses. Welsh businesses have the potential to improve their competitiveness, access new markets and suppliers, for instance.

Xwavia’s new management team has the vision and experience to implement these plans, further strengthening its market position and our investment will also enable them to recruit more staff to underpin their expansion.”

Understandably the decision by Finance Wales to award such a big investment to Xwavia hasn’t been without its critics. Rival wireless provider Airband told ISPreview.co.uk last month that the decision was “outrageous” because “[we have] provided services in the same area for the past two years and have managed our financial affairs well with no need for handouts“.

A recent Q&A session of the Welsh Assembly also revealed that Xwavia has already received a separate “Make Safe” grant worth £143,000 and a loan to the value of £162,000. Suffice to say that the best way for Xwavia to prove their critics wrong will be to build the new network while also revealing more details about the roll-out plan, timescales and service improvements as soon as possible.

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 X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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