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Vispa Mast Extends Superfast Wireless Broadband to East Cheshire UK

Tuesday, June 19th, 2018 (8:33 am) - Score 1,658

After a long battle UK ISP Vispa has finally started the construction of a new Mast site on Croker Hill (south of Macclesfield), which will enable them to extend their 60Mbps capable superfast fixed wireless broadband network to cover poorly served homes and businesses in East Cheshire (England).

At present the state aid supported Connecting Cheshire project is already working alongside Openreach (BT) to extend the local reach of faster “fibre broadband” (FTTC/P) networks to an additional 100,000 premises by the end of 2018 (98% coverage), although the official website is somewhat unclear about whether that 98% will represent “superfast” speeds of 24Mbps+ or not (we think 95%+ may be more likely for 24Mbps+).

Sadly there has been no news of a future deployment contract since last year (here), which means that for the time being some premises could be stuck in the broadband slow lane for awhile (once the existing scheme completes) and those are the ones that Vispa intends to target with their latest rollout.

Vispa’s new mast site is a relatively isolated location on the top of Croker Hill in Sutton, which will sit around 220 metres to the south of an existing BT Communication Tower (pictured above) in the open countryside beyond the green belt. The proposed development consists of a 9.15 metre high lattice mast (triangular in shape) sat on a 5m by 5m concrete base, enclosed by 2.4m high palisade fencing (painted green).

Vispa Statement

We started project back in 2015 with the aim to deliver superfast broadband to residents in the surrounding areas by installing a small mast on top of Croker Hill.

With support from the community, Cheshire East Council and David Rutley MP we proceeded to apply for planning permission despite planners doubtful that the application would be successful due to its location on the western edge of the peak district national park.

Various additional reports had to be drawn up which took a little over 18 months from submitting the application to receiving a decision.

In December 2017 the application was approved and just after the new year we engaged with the landowner to finalise the legal paperwork. Unfortunately, it has taken a further five months for the documents to be approved by the bank.

After a long drawn out process, today we’ve finally been given the green light.

According to the original Planning Application, the new base station (they tend to use kit from Ubiquiti Networks) will provide the ability to deploy multiple 20MHz and 40MHz channels within the 2.4GHz and 5.8GHz license band. The location should be able to provide network coverage to large parts of East Cheshire, as well as potentially to the South and East covering parts of the Peak District, Derbyshire and Staffordshire.

The provider’s most recent coverage map highlights this in green below (around Macclesfield), while the bits in Warrington and Manchester were established a few years ago and the large area in blue is just marked as being of interested for a possible future deployment (the blue bits would require more masts and investment etc.).

vispa wireless coverage map cheshire uk 2018

Construction is expected to begin in the next 3-4 weeks, although it could take another 10 weeks before electricity is able to reach the site. Local homes can expect to pay from £19.95 inc. VAT per month for a basic 10Mbps (2Mbps upload) service with a peak-time usage cap of 100GB (unlimited off-peak), including wireless router, static IP address and a 12 month contract (installation costs £149). By comparison Vispa’s top 60Mbps (10Mbps upload) package offers 500GB usage for £49.95. Sadly there are no “unlimited” packages.

We should point out that B4RN has also recently begun extending their 1Gbps Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP/H) broadband network into parts of Cheshire (here), although they are currently focused much further to the east and well away from Vispa’s latest deployment.

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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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