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Northumbrian Water Helps Solve Fontburn and Nunnykirk’s Slow Broadband

Friday, August 18th, 2017 (8:20 am) - Score 738
alncom wireless broadband station

Residents living around the rural Northumberland areas of Fontburn, Nunnykirk, Forestburn Gate, Rothley, Longwitton and Harwood are starting to benefit after a joint effort between the community, council, Northumbrian Water and ISP Alncom resulted in a new broadband network.

The new solution came to life after Northumbrian Water grew frustrated with the slow and unreliable performance of their Satellite broadband link (Government MPs working on the 10Mbps USO should take note), which had been used to keep the company’s Fontburn water treatment works and fishing lodge sites connected. In response the firm teamed up with Northumberland County Council and local residents in the hope of finding a better solution.

In terms of fixed line connectivity, most of the affected area only seems to receive slow ADSLMax services and sub-1Mbps speeds are thus not uncommon, although Openreach’s availability checker does suggest that some parts might soon benefit from on-going upgrades of the local fixed line infrastructure. The operator’s FTTC and FTTP deployments are already nearby, such as in the familiar location of Rothbury.

Instead Alncom was chosen to setup a new fibre optic fed fixed wireless broadband network, which aims to cover 150 local homes and businesses by the end of 2018.

Phase 1 – Completed
Fontburn, Nunnykirk

Phase 2 – End of 2017
Forestburn Gate

Phase 3 – Beginning of 2018
Rothley, Longwitton

Phase 4 – TBA*
Harwood

* Dependent upon the completion of a nearby Community Fibre scheme.

No details on the cost of this deployment have been published, although Northumbrian Water has paid for Phase 1 and the rest is due to be funded by Alncom using residents’ subscriptions to recoup the costs.

Louise Hunter, Northumbrian Water′s Director of Corporate Affairs, said:

“We are really proud to be part of this project and to have played our part in helping to bring superfast and reliable internet to this remote and rural location.

It will be a real boost for the treatment works and the fishing lodge but the benefits it will bring to local people and the local community will be felt much more.

Everyone involved has been fantastic however the real thanks have to go to the residents of Fontburn. They’ve been the real driving force behind this project and without their determination and hard work then we wouldn’t be where we are today.”

Stephen Pinchen from Alncom said:

“With a number of other companies unable to provide a solution, this was a perfect opportunity for Alncom to demonstrate how cutting-edge technology can be used to bring superfast broadband to remote rural locations, cost effectively. The benefits to the local community are massive and they’ve not had to pay a premium.”

Apparently 9 properties have already connected to the service as part of phase 1 and another 18 homes have signed-up, including Nunnykirk School. Alncom’s website doesn’t offer a lot of detail, although it looks like residents can expect to pay from £15 inc. VAT per month for a basic 4Mbps connection and this goes up to £40 for a 30Mbps service, which of course doesn’t require the additional cost of line rental.

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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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