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Wireless Broadband Network Extends its Rural South Oxfordshire Reach

Wednesday, April 5th, 2017 (1:51 pm) - Score 560
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Fixed Wireless Access ISP Village Networks has confirmed that they’re now expanding the coverage of their superfast broadband network to reach the rural villages of Russell’s Water, Maidensgrove, Swyncombe, Stonor, Greenfield, Turville Heath, Park Corner, Britwell Hill and Howe Hill.

A few months ago we reported that the Connect8 campaign had helped to encourage Openreach (BT) to deploy their 80Mbps capable FTTC (VDSL2) broadband network into some of the aforementioned South Oxfordshire villages (here). Not long after that we also reported that Village Networks were building a new commercial wireless network to tackle the same areas (here), which would focus on the bits that Openreach missed (some overbuild is inevitable since the FTTC service should cover around 70% of the area by December 2017).

At the time VN was still in the process of re-lighting / extending an unused fibre optic link in the Stonor Park area and building a new transmitter on top of a nearby hill. Further work was also being planned, which involved working with Thames Valley Police so that VN could add the Britwell Hill mast to their infrastructure backbone. The good news is that this work has now completed.

Building the network has also required VN to deal with local authorities at every level – parish, district and county, as well as English Heritage and Historic England.

Ross Firth, Village Networks’ Technical Director, said:

“It’s hostile terrain, even for a wireless network. Deep valleys, thickly wooded terrain, with very dispersed habitation. We laid fibre and power to a remote hilltop outside the village of Stonor. From there, we have a wireless 1Gbps backbone link to our equipment on a 47m (150 ft) Thames Valley Police tower at Britwell Hill. It’s from there we have connectivity to many of the Connect8 parishes’.

Ultimately, everything depended on our site share agreement with Thames Valley Police. Security considerations are paramount, and technical scrutiny has been stringent. But we’ve had support from everyone involved, from the Police Commissioner, through the raft of technical, structural and legal people who are all part of the process. We consider ourselves exceptionally fortunate. It’s not every day a rural ISP has this kind of opportunity.”

A number of properties have already gone live with the superfast wireless broadband network in Stonor, while work is starting this week to connect properties in Russell’s Water and Maidensgrove. Village Networks predicts that they will have operational nodes in each community over the next 6 weeks.

The ISP claims that their new fixed wireless network can deliver broadband speeds of up to 90Mbps, with “standard” speeds of 30Mbps. Residents can expect to pay around £40 per month inc. VAT for the standard unlimited service and their setup charge is usually about £222 (one-off). Other package options are available.

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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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