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Government Praises WarwickNet’s Northamptonshire Broadband Rollout

Thursday, January 28th, 2016 (9:07 am) - Score 323
warwicknet_corbygate_business_park

Last year’s effort between the Federation of Small Businesses and WarwickNet to identify and roll-out a superfast FTTC / FTTP broadband service to business parks and industrial estates in Northamptonshire (England) has won rare praise from the central UK Government.

The FSB initially complained that many business parks and industrial estates were being overlooked by the big providers and had become so-called “Jurassic Parks“, where slow broadband was normal unless your business is willing to stump up for a very expensive leased line. Naturally leased lines aren’t affordable for many smaller firms and so an alternative was needed.

In order to tackle this WarwickNet established a partnership with the local authority and then worked with the FSB to identify which areas were most in need of their alternative network infrastructure.

A number of business parks have already benefited from this approach, such as CorbyGate (pictured), Weldon North Industrial Estate, Willowbrook East Industrial Estate, Weldon South Industrial Estate, Corby Business Centre and work is also under-way to connect the nearby Kettering Venture Park and Telford Way Industrial Estate.

Sarah Naylor, Northamptonshire Council’s Broadband Manager, said:

This initiative to get telecoms providers to invest commercially in the county is helping us to achieve our Superfast Northamptonshire ambition without the need for public funding – getting businesses connected is a key priority for us.

We are delighted that the approach has attracted companies such as WarwickNet because they have a strong reputation and a desire to expand into new areas and markets, which is good for them and good for businesses in Northamptonshire.

We are also pleased that the approach has been welcomed by the Department for Culture, Media & Sport.”

The services and prices delivered tend to vary from site to site, although businesses in CorbyGate can now pick from a variety of FTTC (VDSL) and FTTP based broadband products, including more expensive leased line options if so required.

The “cheapest” entry-level solution in CorbyGate is a 40Mbps (5Mbps upload) service with a 100GB data allowance for £60 +vat per month (£100 one-off setup), which is still quite pricey but then the alternative is a 1-4Mbps ADSL line from BT.

The downside of this approach is that those who choose WarwickNet can only take the service from a single supplier because it’s a closed network, although the fact that local firms now at least have some choice of infrastructure provider is still a huge improvement.

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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 New_Londoner

    As commented on TBB, I’m sure the tenants on the business parks will be thrilled that their locations were taken out of the county’s broadband programme in order to have a provider with no ISP choice and rather higher prices!

    • We perhaps shouldn’t forget that, assuming it was ever due to be covered by a BDUK project, the outcome leaves investment that can now be spent on expanding coverage into other areas that might not have benefited before. At least WarwickNet spent their own money, rather than relying on a public hand out before helping.

    • Avatar New_Londoner

      @MarkJ true, it’s a pity it charges businesses so much for VDSL with data caps – way over the rates charged by other service providers.

    • Most other providers aren’t building their own physical infrastructure 🙂 .

    • Avatar Steve Jones

      That this service might cost more than over the OR network is surely just a reflection of different cost structures. After all, if it was commercially viable at OR current GEA/FTTC prices, then presumably the service would have been enabled. The current regulatory environment doesn’t seem to favour differential wholesale pricing (nor for that matter does BT seem to want to explore that possibility), even though, in theory at least, it would alter the commercial viability of some locations.

      In any event, Warwicknet seem to be doing a valuable job and it’s presumably cost effective when measured against the price of private circuits. Warwicknet, being a relatively small company, is also presumably not in a position to tolerate a 15 year payback (which I seem to recall was the OR threshold for FTTC cabinet commercial viability).

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