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Somerset Village of Priddy to Get Superfast Wireless Broadband via Voneus

Thursday, January 12th, 2017 (11:36 am) - Score 1,519

Residents of Priddy on the Mendip Heights in rural Somerset (England), where around 671 people currently receive fixed line broadband speeds of anything between 1-5Mbps, might soon benefit from superfast speeds of ‘up to’ 100Mbps via a new network from UK ISP Voneus.

The Voneus approach will involve running a pure fibre optic cable into the heart of the village, which will then connect to a wireless distribution point at the local village hall or church. After that residents who opt to take the service will be able to receive it by having a small “Voneus Microwave Receiver” installed on top of their homes

The cost of installation looks set to be met by the regional Connecting Devon and Somerset voucher scheme, which is offering a subsidy worth up to £500 per property to help those in slow broadband areas to get a faster service installed. Apparently Voneus will be aiming to get the first wireless infrastructure in place by the end of January or early February 2017.

Gary Day, Voneus Sales Director, said:

“We have made the decision to go ahead with the project despite falling a little short on meeting our minimum requirements on participants [ISPr ED: They originally requested for at least 65 premises to commit support], so if you happen to know of a neighbour or friend in Priddy that wishes to receive Voneus faster broadband please have them contact our sales team via sales@voneus.com.

A special thank you to Barry Wilkinson and Kate Greet alongside the rest of the Parish Council in making this happen. We are now busy planning the network and our team of planners will be making further visits to Priddy in preparation of rolling out the network.

Due to the nature of our network, we need to have a core infrastructure in place before we can start to expand and grow out the rest of the network, and so we will introduce a ‘phasing’ system so as to establish the order in which we need to build. This will be dictated by where our network begins and we will update you as to which ‘phase’ you are in and how this affects when you are able to have installation when we have completed further surveys.”

Readers with a keen eye will recall that Priddy was originally selected to take part in the Government’s Market Test Pilot (MTP) for an alternative Satellite broadband network (here), but locals weren’t terribly interested in the idea of an inferior Satellite network and the area was ultimately removed from the project.

So far it seems as if that was a good decision because not only is Priddy going to benefit from a faster wireless network, but it may also be reached by Gigaclear’s future FTTP roll-out (here). However the latter has yet to be confirmed and the presence of Voneus could potentially change Gigaclear’s future roll-out plan.

Assuming all goes to plan then locals will soon be taking the service via one of two package options. Prices start at £20 inc VAT per month for a 20GB usage allowance or £34.99 for unlimited usage, on top of that there’s usually a £149.99 installation fee (anybody with a voucher should be covered for this). However real-world speeds are likely to fall a bit lower than the 100Mbps maximum, but residents have been promised that it will deliver at least 24Mbps+.

Leave a Comment
13 Responses
  1. Avatar TheFacts says:

    ‘pure’ fibre optic cable. What’s the other sort?

    1. Avatar Ignition says:

      Sadly it has to be said due to the UK’s ‘fibre’ broadband mostly being hybrid.

    2. Avatar Tomo says:

      Virgin’s coax ‘fibre’ or BT’s copper ‘fibre’

    3. Mark Jackson Mark Jackson says:

      Yes as the others have said, we kind of have to say that because of the nutty advertising that goes on amongst ISPs where “fibre” is a diluted term.

  2. Avatar Chris says:

    Yay, I’m going to get decent broadband at last. This is a big improvement over the 3Mbps I get now. Other Voneus deployments are delivering 60 to 80Mbps so if I get that I will be well chuffed. Given the relatively low take up there should not be too much contention I suspect. I am also changing to a VOIP phone so Openreach can take their 6km of copper and shove it.

    The fact that a commercial organisation can make this work with relatively low subsidy from CDS goes to prove that there are sensible options out there for more remote properties. It is more cost effective than the satellite proposal and stands a good chance of being usable.


  3. Avatar MikeW says:

    A better use of the church compared to the recent satellite story.

    I’m a little surprised that the use of vouchers is allowed while Gigaclear haven’t planned out their coverage. Or is Priddy in one of the parts that Gigaclear haven’t won?

    1. Mark Jackson Mark Jackson says:

      I believe the final application for vouchers was made around mid-Nov 2016, while the Gigaclear deal wasn’t announced until 6 weeks after that and the latter has yet to publish a clear roll-out plan. Still there’s the potential for a conflict so I’ll keep an eye to see if Voneus changes their commitment at the last moment.

    2. Avatar MikeW says:

      I just watched the Devon council meeting video, with mention made of the vouchers.

      They were indeed “paused” in November, but might come back once Gigaclear’s rollout is known. They were only for sub-2Mbps speeds … if Chris’ speed of 3Mbps is typical in the village, then vouchers aren’t a big part of the deal.

      How official can pooling be? Even the councillors were getting tongue-tied over the way vouchers can be used as a group.

    3. Avatar Chris says:


      I think all of the village are rated as sub 2Mbps according to Openreach and that was the criteria for the vouchers. The fact that I get 3Mbps did not hamper me in getting a voucher.


    4. Avatar MikeW says:

      Sh! 😉

  4. Avatar Gary Day says:

    We are committed to Priddy as we are to many other areas, whether that be commercial or otherwise. Deployment is happening now and we are deploying to many other areas with CDS and various BDUK bodies aware of our footprint. Rapid deployment, and delivering speeds which quite seriously BT should be ashamed off, we are enhancing community life plus education and health.
    We applaud Gigaclear on their recent news oand welcome interaction, should they wish. We have offered contact to them and are awaiting them to respond. We have a different business model as you would expect however due to rapid deployment and especially in those harder to reach areas where true FTTP will always take longer, perhaps, just perhaps, there is space for all of Priddy has now exceeded our minimimun commitment as anticipated, which of course we are happy about as I have mentioned once we commit to a village we will deploy to that village and individual. Without sounding like a party member together is stronger.

  5. Avatar BarryW says:

    Here in Priddy most get < 2Mbs, Chris' 3Mbs is not the norm. We in Priddy are very grateful for the support Voneus is giving us, things are moving quickly here.

    We were also very pleased to hear that we are included in the CDS Phase 2 contract with Gigaclear. This will contribute to keeping our village 'future proof'. In response to an earlier comment: We are advised by CDS, and they have published this statement, that using a CDS voucher does not preclude us from any future coverage in the Phase 2 programme.

    1. Avatar MikeW says:

      The last one is a good point to make.

      The intention with the voucher is to improve basic broadband, rather than to reach superfast speeds – although the latter is not prohibited either.

      It’ll be good to see how it turns out.

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