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Wireless UK ISP Airband Makes Progress on Herefordshire Rollout

Tuesday, August 13th, 2019 (10:55 am) - Score 664
airband collington

Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) ISP Airband has issued a short update on their state aid supported Fastershire contract. The provider is rolling out a new hybrid wireless and fibre optic 100Mbps+ broadband network to cover 10 rural communities (dispersed clusters) in Herefordshire (England), which has just gone live in Tedstone Wafre.

At present Fastershire has so far helped to extend faster broadband to cover an additional 96,516 premises across both Herefordshire and Gloucestershire, with most of the work being done via FTTC and some FTTP technology from Openreach and Gigaclear. The Hereforshire side of this aims to achieve “superfast broadband” (30Mbps+) coverage of 97% by the end of 2020 (here), which requires quite a jump from 88% today.

As part of that plan Airband last year scooped up a smaller stage 4 contract (here), which is supporting a deployment of their new hybrid Rural Optic (RO) technology to help “provide access to 10 dispersed clusters of premises spread across the county.” The new wireless fed FTTP network (yes you read that right) is said to be capable of delivering 100Mbps+ speeds and the contract itself reflects planned coverage for c.4,500 premises.

Work to build the new network finally got underway in April 2019 (here) and today the ISP informs that they’ve just covered 164 premises (homes and businesses) in areas around the extremely remote rural community of Tedstone Wafre, such as Collington.

Martin Cumming, Airband’s Marches Project Manager, said:

“It has been a pleasure engaging with the people in this area – they have been very helpful and supportive and are keen to enjoy faster broadband both for themselves and the rest of their community.

We are going to be working in and around Leintwardine from July and Brimfield in August and then we will be heading towards Hereford, down as far as Much Marcle – so you can expect to see Airband vans, and lots of friendly Airband engineers out and about in these areas!”

Councillor Shaw, Ward Member Bromyard Bringsty, said:

“Faster broadband is so vital in rural areas and this is a wonderful boost for the communities in and around Tedstone Wafre. Fastershire’s investment in faster broadband means that more of the harder to reach parts of Herefordshire can benefit from faster broadband and the ability to work from home, run multiple devices will ultimately make the county a better place to live and work.”

The update includes feedback from local Collington resident Andy Jones, who is a commercial pilot living on a local smallholding. Apparently Andy was recently connected to Airband’s new hybrid Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) network and is now receiving a symmetric broadband speed of 80Mbps. So not quite 100Mbps+ but close enough to mark a fairly huge improvement for such a remote area.

Airband’s rollout is scheduled to be complete by the end of Q3 2020.

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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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3 Responses
  1. Avatar Ryan O'Neill

    They are quite impressive as they only started recently and have been working fast routing their fibre via poles instead of digging. I’ve seen their roadworks pop up and disappear very quickly.

    They’ve got stuck into a few villages near here and have made Gigaclear look pretty bad.
    We are on the Gigaclear plan which has been put back yet again, now it starts December and finishes next August (that’s 3 times this year it has changed).

    We had a village hall meeting presented by Gigaclear and Airband at the start of the year, the Airband people stayed quiet. They don’t say much but their actions speak well for them.

    I appreciate that Gigaclear have a harder job of it with digging, but they could at least communicate with the public (the same for Fastershire) instead of me having to find out via a back channel.

  2. Avatar Andy Jones

    My connection has now crept up in performance. Every day this week I have achieved >100Mb download with a highest reading of 110Mb. Latency is usually around 15ms with a lowest ping of 9ms. It’s a superb service and only costing about a fiver more than my old BT ADSL2 line giving about 4.5Mb with horrible lag. With WiFi calling on mobile phones I am dispensing with my BT landline.

    The company were great to deal with and the field engineers are very friendly and professional.

    Basically they are the mirror opposite of BT!

    • Avatar Guy Cashmore

      Dumping your BT copper connection is exactly what we need thousands of rural dwellers to do, it’s the only way BT will get the message that rural copper is dead. I assume you know that you can keep your old BT landline number if you wish by porting it to VOIP, the ongoing cost can be zero for this service.

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