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Wireless ISP Broadway Partners Win Monmouthshire Contract UPDATE

Tuesday, October 1st, 2019 (1:48 pm) - Score 1,127

The Monmouthshire County Council in Wales has today confirmed that the £155k rollout contract for a new “superfast broadband” (30Mbps+) network, which aims to cover around 480 premises in remote rural areas, has been awarded to UK Fixed Wireless Access ISP Broadway Partners (Broadway Broadband).

We first covered the existence of this contract notice a few weeks ago (here). The notice stated that Sir Fynwy Council (Monmouthshire) were seeking a new point-to-point (Line of Sight) network that could utilise either the existing backhaul from the Superfast Cymru infill scheme with Openreach (BT) or any other UK commercial fibre provider.

The new network – backed by total grant funding of £155,000 – is intended to connect poorly served rural premises in areas around the towns of Abergavenny, Pontypool and Usk (all north of Newport). This will only take a small bite out of the county’s problem areas; a recent council report revealed that “there are still 12.6% of our 44,000 premises that have limited or no access to broadband, equating to approximately 6-8,000 premises.

We speculated in our original report that an operator like Broadway Partners would make a good fit for this contract and so it has now come to pass. The company already has some deployments in the county, not least via their efforts to roll-out long range TV White Space (TVWS) technology to serve rural areas with superfast broadband (examples here and here).

At this stage we don’t have any further information, although no doubt the local authority or Broadway Partners will reveal more details about their plans in due course. We note that three providers are said to have bid for the contract.

UPDATE 4th October 2019

One of our readers (Steve) uncovered an update from 24th September 2019 on the council’s website, which said that the new network would aim to “provide more than 500 premises with good quality reliable broadband” (not sure how you get 500+ from 480 but hay ho) and this is being funded by £160,000 (project value) from the Welsh Government’s 2014-2020 Rural Development Programme.

The communities to benefit will include Goytre, Clydach, Llanvapley, Coed Morgan, Nantyderry, Clytha and Llanvair Kilgeddin. The work to implement the new broadband is “expected to take six months” and will provide improved services to businesses and the public alike.

Councillor Sara Jones said:

“I’m delighted to announce we have been successful in securing this vital funding to help improve broadband in Monmouthshire’s hard to reach rural areas. This will not only help to connect the county but will also aid our communities to be more resilient in the digital age.”

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