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Rural Northamptonshire Not-for-Profit ISP Deploys More Full Fibre

Monday, October 7th, 2019 (10:56 am) - Score 634
tove_valley_broadband_fttp_rollout_project

The not-for-profit run Tove Valley Broadband project (Abthorpe Broadband Association) in Northamptonshire (England) is in the process of securing additional funding from the Government’s (DCMS) Gigabit Voucher Scheme, which should enable their volunteers to rollout “full fibre” (FTTP) broadband to more properties.

The project has been running for quite a few years now and initially helped to connect around 500 premises (600 people) in Abthorpe, Weedon Lois, Wappenham, Slapton and Weston, although at the start they only deployed a 5GHz Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) network to serve local homes and businesses with “superfast broadband” speeds of 30Mbps+ (up to 100Mbps).

Back in 2014/15 that same service was upgraded to be fuelled by a new high-capacity “full fibre” network, which is thanks to an investment of around £230,000 (£108,658 from public UK / EU grants). Today some 665 properties have been connected to TVB’s service but they haven’t stopped upgrading it.

Most recently they’ve been using the £67m Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme (GBVS) to bring a Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) service to a number of small local businesses, although a new report (AboutMyArea) states that the project’s directors “aim eventually to provide a fibre optic connection directly to the premises of as many of its member companies and homes as possible.” Speeds of 600Mbps+ seem to be the target.

A few parts of Abthorpe, as well as some other local villages, have already had FTTP installed (around 35 premises in total so far) and the cost of this civil engineering work is said to have been “totally covered” by the Government grants. “That means our members will enjoy some of the fastest broadband speeds available on the planet and still only have to pay £10 a month for unlimited use,” said the team.

We should point out that the project usually requires interested customers to pay a £100 membership fee (one-off) on top of the monthly charge, although if they really are charging £10 per month for their FTTP service – the same as their wireless connections – then that must surely be one of the cheapest – possibly THE cheapest – full fibre services in the UK (note that this is the residential charge and businesses might pay more).

TVBs Fibre Backbone Map (Bold Red Line)

tvb_fibre_backbone_map

We should point out that the Government’s voucher scheme is due to run until 31st March 2021 (funding will run out long before then) and the vouchers can only be consumed within a fairly tight window of time, which means that TVB will need to move quickly in order to fully harness the opportunity. However the new £200m Rural Gigabit Connectivity (RGC) scheme (here) could provide another option for future support.

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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.
Leave a Comment
3 Responses
  1. Avatar right-of-way

    Could be interesting if they were able to reuse the path of the former Northampton and Banbury Junction Railway:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stratford-upon-Avon_and_Midland_Junction_Railway#The_Northampton_and_Banbury_Junction_Railway

  2. Avatar chris conder

    Good on em. Shows what can be done by people of grit.

  3. Avatar Roger

    Yes, they really do only charge £10 a month.

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