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WiSpire Secure Investment to Expand Wireless Broadband in Norfolk UK

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2015 (10:06 am) - Score 675
uk church in burghill

The WiSpire network, which works alongside the Diocese of Norwich to offer faster wireless broadband services to isolated parts of rural Norfolk and north Suffolk (England, UK), has secured new investment that should improve its Internet performance and coverage.

WiSpire’s approach typically involves installing WiFi style wireless radio transmitters / transceivers on top of church towers, which are then used to distribute the service outwards and into surrounding communities.

The project has proven useful, particularly in areas that don’t expect to benefit from the state aid supported Better Broadband for Norfolk project, which is currently helping to roll-out BT’s superfast broadband (FTTC/P) services to 90% of the county (the first target is 80% by the end of 2015).

But despite all this WiSpire’s fastest home broadband speed is still an ‘up to’ 8Mbps (1Mbps uploads) package, although they do separately offer solutions via traditional fixed line ADSL and FTTCfibre broadband” services even if their website doesn’t reveal any details.

The good news is that a community media publisher called Archant has now entered into a new commercial partnership with WiSpire, which is expected to help boost investment into the ISPs network and to improve their marketing reach (Archant controls a lot of advertising space in local magazines and newspapers etc.).

Richard Butler, CEO of the Diocese of Norwich, said (EDP24):

Broadband access is critical to all consumers and businesses in our region. This new investment from Archant is incredibly exciting for our business and I am certain they will prove to be a great commercial partner. We are well set to achieve our business objective of providing connectivity in so-called ‘not-spot areas’ that are not supported by other providers.

We think the combined efforts of these two pillars of the community will make a real difference to the broadband connectivity of Norfolk homes, businesses, schools and churches.”

Sadly there’s no information on precisely what level of investment the deal involves, although we’d hope that they can find a way to offer “superfast broadband” (24Mbps+) capable packages as this might make them into a viable alternative when the third BDUK investment phase begins later this year or during early 2016.

Elsewhere the deal means that WiSpire will also benefit from some new office space and back office services, while Archant chairman Simon Bax and CEO Jeff Henry will both join the ISPs board.

Leave a Comment
6 Responses
  1. Avatar DTMark

    Out of interest, how many subscribers have to be able to get 24Mbps+ before the service can be called ‘superfast’?

    A scenario where not one single subscriber connected to a VDSL cabinet can get 24Mbps is highly unlikely though not impossible.

    But as it stands, there doesn’t seem to be any particular number or threshold required to be able to call the service superfast. So the devil in me thinks “Why not just make sure that one house next to the church can get 24Mbps+ even if nobody else can, and voila, superfast broadband”.

    • Avatar fastman

      and if that is the case and some one has claimed as commercial — no BDUK converage under Secondary BDUK contract — then you find the backhaul can only service 10m customers !!!!

  2. Contention of capacity, as I recall, does form a part of the BDUK commitment. It’s been a long time but I think related connections had to meet a minimum speed of 15Mbps some 90% of the time during peak times in the target intervention area (i.e. technical capability).

  3. Avatar dragoneast

    Jus’ wonderin’: will the broadband come with as many adverts as their on-line news sites which can be almost unreadable with the prolifileration of adverts? But, seriously, at least for those without an agenda, an up to 8Meg service is probably heaven if you’re currently on a sub 1 Meg service.

  4. Avatar Jonas

    What a great story / model and one that should be followed around the UK.

    I understand ITS Technology Group are the technical delivery partner behind the network, which makes greats sense to outsource to a partner with the core capabilities needed.

    • Avatar gerarda

      Using churches as wireless transmitter stations is a model that has been used in a number of places round the country.

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