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UPDATE Aylesbury Vale Council to Fix Rural Superfast Broadband Notspot

Thursday, March 12th, 2015 (1:40 pm) - Score 1,023

The Aylesbury Vale District Council in Buckinghamshire (England) has started a new pilot project, which is being funded with £1.5m from the local New Homes Bonus pot and aims to roll-out a superfast broadband (30Mbps) network across the rural villages of North Marston, Granborough and Hogshaw (more could follow).

The company that has been setup to manage all this – Aylesbury Vale Broadband – have already begun their initial site surveys and the first village hall meeting (North Marston) was held at the end of last week to discuss the plan, which was attended by somewhere between 130-150 people. Local MP, John Bercow (a familiar face as the House of Commons Speaker), was also present to lend his support.

Cllr Neil Blake, Leader of AVDC, said:

It was very encouraging to see so many local people attending the meeting and reinforces the importance of getting everyone connected. We are very keen to support this and believe it’s a great use of our New Homes Bonus. We are optimistic that if this pilot project proves successful then we will be able to roll this out to other locations in the Vale.”

At present there’s not a lot of detail about precisely what sort of solution AVB will be using to fix the village slowspots, although a new website is expected to be launched within the next couple of weeks and that will include more information.

Otherwise the current plan is for the new network to be completed by the end of this summer, although their website suggests that the first services might also start to go live as early as June. Meanwhile an earlier press release from 2014 indicates that the funding from AVDC could be used to unlock match funding of £2.56m from the government, although interestingly the latest update makes no mention of this and merely touts the £1.5m figure.

The areas identified by AVB as in need of help are those locations that appear set to miss out on coverage through the local Connected Counties project, which is otherwise aiming to expand the reach of BT’s “fibre broadband” (FTTC/P) network to 90% of local premises by the end of March 2016; this may soon be expanded.

It’s perhaps worth pointing out that North Marston is home to around 800 people, while Granborough’s population sits at about 600 and Hogshaw is tiny with around 80 locals to its name. Locals who want to support the scheme can register their interest on the website.

Hopefully their forthcoming website refresh also changes the mentions of MB/s to Mb/s, so as to avoid confusion between MegaBytes and Megabits per second.

UPDATE 16th March 2015

Roger Carey of Village Networks has informed us via email that they’re also present in some of the same area, which may create an overbuilding situation. Apparently the new AVDC project is also a line-of-sight wireless technology, although Carey isn’t sure where the backhaul will come from.

Naturally Village Networks isn’t too pleased with this, not least because AVDC appear to be using the same technology as their own setup and in the same areas. According to Carey, the Parish Council of one of the three communities’ identified for the pilot has already formally determined not to participate because they have the service already.

On the other hand the website for Village Network’s tends to promote speeds of up to 6Mbps (2Mbps upload) from £30 per month (plus a £222 setup fee), which isn’t particularly fast.

UPDATE:

Looking deeper into the VN website and a 24Mbps (1Mbps upload) option is available, but it will set you back £50 per month.

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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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