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White Space Tech Brings 30Mbps Wireless Broadband to Loch Striven

Monday, March 18th, 2019 (1:47 pm) - Score 1,095
loch striven scotland uk broadband

Homes around part of Loch Striven (Argyll and Bute) in Western Scotland will soon be able to access “superfast broadband” speeds of up to 30Mbps, which comes after Sheffield-based ISP Whitespace Technology announced they would be deploying a new TV White Space (TVWS) using wireless network in the area.

The TVWS technology works by harnessing the gaps that exist between radio spectrum in the Digital Terrestrial TV bands (these operate between about 470MHz to 694MHz), which makes them good for delivering wide coverage (up to around 10km). Such signals can even travel through permanent obstacles, such as buildings and trees, as well as around terrain, although finding enough frequency to deliver good speeds is challenging.

So far most of the TVWS based broadband networks that have been built in the United Kingdom have been installed by Broadway Partners via their 50Mbps capable ISP Broadway Broadband, but they’re not the only game in town and are today being joined by Whitespace Technology (WT).

Under the plan WT will used a mix of traditional Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) technology and TVWS in order to cover a “sizeable” rural area near Ardyne Point on the edge of Lock Striven. This is a Sea Loch that extends off the Firth of Clyde, and forms part of the Cowal peninsula coast in Argyll & Bute.

At present many of the homes and businesses in this area already connect to one of Openreach’s (BT) FTTC (VDSL2) enabled “fibre broadband” cabinets, although the local copper lines are usually far too long for a viable signal and thus slow ADSL speeds of around 2Mbps are more likely.

ardyne point loch striven

By comparison WT says that their new network will be able to deliver speeds of up to 30Mbps and it’s well suited to such locations. Unlimited usage packages will start from £30 per month (plus £350 one-off for installation or free with a BDUK better broadband subsidy voucher) for a 10Mbps (2Mbps upload) home plan and this rises to £50 per month for their top 30Mbps (5Mbps upload) business tier.

One curious aspect of this is that their website says “all products [are] subject to site survey, install fee and 3 year contract,” although Ofcom does not allow for contracts longer than 24 months on residential packages. We’ve informed the ISP of this.

Mark Wheeler, Whitespace Technology CEO, told ISPreview.co.uk:

“Rural communities stand to benefit the most from the internet and digital innovation, but are consistently left behind by fixed-line broadband rollouts. We’re focussed on delivering high-speed, high-quality internet services to rural communities across Scotland, and the whole of the UK.

The Loch Striven community has been engaged and open to considering new and innovative ways to get connected, and we’re excited to be a part of getting them online at last.”

Peter Griffiths, Loch Striven Community Spokesperson, added:

“Connectivity services across Argyll & Bute, but particularly Loch Striven, are unreliable, slow and expensive. We needed a solution which delivered value for money, but most importantly gave us a working service at the speeds required for today’s digital activities.

This is crucial to people and businesses across the whole area. We’re pleased to be working with Whitespace Technology to achieve this and look forward to a successful partnership.”

The aforementioned deployment only represents Phase One of WT’s plan for the area. Subsequent phases are also being planned that could extend services onto Bute and then towards the communities of Colintraive and Glendaruel. A number of other under-served locations across Argyll & Bute are also being considered for future deployments.

UPDATE 2:47pm

The provider has now clarified on their website that the 36 month term only applies to their business plan.

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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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