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TVWS Broadband Reaches 100 Rural Premises in Trossachs

Monday, December 2nd, 2019 (1:56 pm) - Score 1,310

A public investment of £50,000 by the Stirling Council in Scotland has enabled 72 homes and 30 businesses in the remote rural Trossachs community of Brig o’ Turk to access broadband speeds of 50Mbps+ via a new fixed wireless network, which harnesses TV White Space (TVWS) tech from UK ISP Broadway Broadband (Broadway Partners).

The TVWS technology has been around for a few short years now and is still being improved. As a technology it’s cleverly designed to harness the small gaps of radio spectrum that exist between TV channels in the Digital Terrestrial TV (DTTV) band, which operate upwards from 470MHz (stops at around 700MHz as this band is due to be released for 4G and 5G mobile services in 2020).

Normally such gaps would be intended to help minimise the risk of interference between channels but TVWS makes use of a new dynamic spectrum management database, which means that the gaps can instead be used to deliver data. Broadway Partners has already conducted a number of similar deployments (examples here and here). More traditional 5GHz wireless links often have a role to play too.

The new network has now been deployed to cover around 100 premises in the Brig o’ Turk village. In the picture you can see the new relay wireless station, which is located on one of the hills just outside of the village and this is supported by renewable battery power from both solar and wind generation.

Stuart Oliver, Senior Manager at Stirling Council, said:

“Having access to superfast broadband is truly transformative for rural residents and business, and the completion of this innovative project is fantastic news for people in the Brig o’ Turk area.

This is another excellent example of the Council working in partnership with local people and other agencies to deliver tailored broadband solutions.

Collecting two national awards was a brilliant boost for everyone involved in the programme and it reaffirmed our resolve to connect more rural communities. This latest announcement shows we are continuing to drive forward with this key Council priority.”

Prices tend to start from £29.99 per month (£24.99 with a Christmas discount) for their unlimited 50Mbps (5Mbps upload) service on an 18 month minimum contract term, which thanks to various voucher schemes often includes free installation (outside of that the normal standard installation and router fee is £620 +vat upfront). Faster packages exist but these aren’t available everywhere.

The Stirling Council has a long history of helping to support alternative network deployments in rural areas, such as for Balquhidder, Argarty & Kilbryde, Stockiemuir, Carron Valley and Auchenteck. Overall about 600 premises have now benefited from these projects, often using either or both full fibre (FTTP) and fixed wireless technologies.

Stirling itself is also benefiting from Cityfibre and Vodafone’s rollout of a new 1Gbps FTTH broadband network.

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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
9 Responses
  1. Stevo says:

    I surveyed the area a number of years ago with the idea of taking FTTP. Great choice Stirling Council, opting for the cheap, and unreliable option!!

    1. Gary says:

      If it was worth the investment depends what their outlook was for something better doesn’t it ?

      Sure not getting FTTP maybe isnt the dream solution but if the area was (like mine) stuck on very poor ADSL and highly likely to be at the very back of any roll out, a 50M wireless solution is great news for them, Much better than possibly waiting another 10 years.

    2. Brian says:

      After years of empty promises and putting up with a slow ADSL connection, what most people would want is something better than what they have, that brings them at least to nearer the average speeds. For £500 per premises, that’s what they’ve got.Yes its got a finite life, but so has all the FTTC kit that’s been installed.

    3. Gareth says:

      ADSL on the Trossachs exchange provides about 0.5Mb/s max to end users, which appears to be a limitation imposed because the data backhaul to the exchange is provided by an old and slow radio link.

  2. Michael says:

    Wireless now does not preclude fibre in the future, Stevo!

  3. A_Builder says:

    @ Stevo

    Also depends how it is done.

    If the backhaul is good quality microwave then it should be OK.

    Others are using a hybrid approach with microwave back haul and Mixed FTTP/wireless distribution.

    I’d take Stevos point if it was wireless all the way and this does feel a bit like something from two years ago. But I guess needs are now now 5yrs down the tunnel of optimism that is gripping UK wide FTTP now. This is ultra remote rural and so does take a lot of planning and engineering to lay an FTTP backhaul.

  4. chris conder says:

    Well done to them. Far better than anything the incumbent would have done. The difficulty with laying fibre is the fact that the main telcos have cherrypicked anything commercial in most areas, which means the network is sparse (until those on fttc realise the farmers are faster and better) but it is very hard to start such a project from scratch. Replacing wireless links with fibre slowly over the years is a good option and they may do that, or wifi will improve even more. At least they have Done Something. Altnets rock.

    1. TheFacts says:

      @CC – it’s not cherrypicking, it’s running a business.

  5. craski says:

    Having read several articles about TWWS projects, I always find it quite tricky to pick out the detail about just what aspect TWWS is actually delivering and why it was used in preference to other wireless technologies. I am a big fan of Fixed Wireless as I have relied on it for the past 3 years and have little confidence that R100 will actually reach all of us currently on the edge of the Openreach copper network so will rely on it for several more. I’d be interested to read more about the economics of TWWS relative to Fixed Wireless and any other benefits/pitfalls that TWWS brought to the project.

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