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Wessex Internet Approved for USC Broadband Subsidy, Plans Expansion

Tuesday, March 1st, 2016 (11:03 am) - Score 647

Rural ISP Wessex Internet (M12 Solutions) has confirmed that their hybrid superfast fibre optic and wireless broadband network, which operates in North Dorset, South Wiltshire and East Somerset (England), is now an approved supplier for the £60m “2Mbps for all” rural broadband subsidy (USC).

The Universal Service Commitment subsidy was officially clarified at the end of 2015 (here) and is focused upon helping an estimated 300,000 UK premises that might not benefit from the Broadband Delivery UK roll-out of “superfast” (24Mbps+) fixed line broadband services.

Broadly it offers grants worth up to around £350 that could be used to reduce the initial cost of having a Satellite broadband connection installed. But not everybody is a fan of inferior Satellite connectivity and initial uptake was low (here), which might explain why the Government then extended the scheme to include a fixed wireless ISP like Quickline (here).

Now Wessex Internet has confirmed that they too have “been successful in securing BDUK approval to allow businesses and residents who get less than 2Mb/s Internet to receive a £350 connection grant,” which shows that the Government are serious about extending the USC funding to a wider variety of ISPs and network types.

Andrew Skipsey, Wessex Internet’s Tech Boss, told ISPreview.co.uk:

“This will be great news to help us serve more remote areas and potential customers where we already have a presence where BT speeds are slow.”

Mind you that wasn’t the only good news out of Wessex Internet today. Customers have also been promised bigger data allowances, which won’t cost extra. The top Family + package now comes with 500GB of data and the middle popular Family package is 150GB. On top of that they’ve added 25% more data for Residential Starter and business broadband customers.

The ISP has also announced plans for a further network expansion, which will see them move into a number of new areas like Henstridge and Cucklington.

James Gibson Fleming, WI’s Infrastructure Man, said:

“We have plans to move into 7 new areas in the near future with agreement underway for sites at Henstridge and Cucklington covering many badly served homes and businesses. We expect our service will have a significantly increased footprint by this time next year and with the new website we could well be past 1750 customers by the end of 2016.”

It’s fair to say that Wessex Internet, which is a fairly young alternative network ISP, is enjoying some good growth and their network already provides service to over 900 homes and 100 businesses. The network itself is a combination of 160km of buried fibre, with over 100 points of presence on hillsides and tall buildings that can also help distribute a fixed wireless signal.

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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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