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Wireless ISP Airband Seeks Code Powers to Cut Rollout Time and Cost

Friday, June 2nd, 2017 (10:36 am) - Score 677
airband

Fixed wireless broadband ISP Airband have put in an application for Code Powers from Ofcom, which could make it easier and cheaper for them to expand their rural focused network beyond existing coverage in the Midlands, South West and Wales.

At present the provider’s 30Mbps capable Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) network is focused on delivering Internet connectivity to rural parts of Worcestershire, Herefordshire, Gloucestershire, Shropshire, Wales (Powys), Warwickshire, Devon and Somerset. Perhaps their most notable deployment has been the state aid supported £4.6m roll-out to cover 5,800 premises in the Dartmoor and Exmoor National Parks (here).

However Airband told Ofcom that they were also “looking to further expand across other areas of the country as local authorities roll-out their [Broadband Delivery UK] projects throughout the UK and as its business expands,” although they’ll need Code Powers in order to help simplify and speed-up the planning process by reducing the number of licenses needed for civil works.

Code Powers Application

The Applicant has explained that, at a practical level, it is not possible for it to roll out its rural broadband products without the Code and that it would be inhibited severely by its inability to obtain access to both public and private land.

In this regard, the Applicant has explained that it is neither practicable from a business point of view, nor feasible financially to rely on the full Town and Country Planning process, which is the only alternative to the exercise of Code powers. This would require it to make individual planning applications for each addition to the network, where it considers the costs (including fees to local planning authorities) and the delays would be prohibitive.

According to its application, it needs to be able to respond promptly to demands for new facilities from potential customers and it could not do that if it needed to initiate a long and unpredictable planning application each time a pole or similar structure was being installed.

Ofcom has provisionally proposed to grant Code Powers to Airband and are opening their consultation up to the public, which will run until 3rd July 2017. Historically such applications are usually approved and so we’re unlikely to run a follow-up article, unless there’s a rejection.

As a side note, the consultation reveals that Airband shares equipment with the Lingen National Community Broadband CIC and they also share trenches and ducts with mobile operator EE.

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Mark Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he is also the founder of ISPreview since 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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2 Responses
  1. Patrick Cosgrove

    I wonder if they’re in line for a much-delayed 2b contract in Shropshire.

  2. We have created a map so you can see Airbands current planning applications – http://j.mp/2gu1t09 with links to the planning details

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