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ISP Airband Make Ultrafast Broadband Progress in Shropshire

Thursday, January 23rd, 2020 (9:10 am) - Score 1,599

Fixed wireless and UK full fibre (FTTP) ISP Airband has made progress on their £11.2m Connecting Shropshire contract, which has so far expanded the reach of “superfast broadband” (30Mbps+) connectivity to 10,500 premises in the county and they now aim to deploy “ultrafast” (100Mbps) speeds to a further 2,200 premises.

Overall the original contract required Airband to reach an additional 14,000+ premises with superfast broadband by 2020 (here), although the project’s website was updated last year to state that “Connecting Shropshire is working with Airband to deliver superfast broadband to over 12,000 homes & businesses in Shropshire by 2020/21.”

Assuming all goes to plan then some 98% of Shropshire could have access to superfast broadband (currently around 94%) by the end of all current contracts that are expected to complete in 2021, which includes Openreach’s (BT) on-going fibre deployments and of course any commercial schemes.

Funding Split of the £11.2m Contract
Airband – £1.4m
Shropshire County Council – £2.24m
Building Digital UK – £5.29m
Marches LEP – £2.27m

The latest area to benefit from Airband’s new fibre optic broadband network deployment is the rural village of Neenton, which previously suffered from sub-2Mbps download speeds but can now access 100Mbps.

Dave Lloyd, Head of Projects at Airband, said:

“Bringing ultrafast to Neenton represents everything that Airband is about – we are transforming connectivity for people and communities who deserve better. It’s so rewarding to be able to provide such a vast improvement in broadband speeds and the reaction and appreciation from the villagers here has been incredible.

We have already started planning and surveying for the remaining clusters. And when we build our ultrafast networks, we use existing infrastructure wherever possible (such as existing poles and underground ducts), which means we can set up an ultrafast fibre network very rapidly.

Once we start building a network in an area, the process from ordering to installation should take just a few weeks.”

Airband’s fibre broadband roll-out in Shropshire includes premises in the following parish and town council areas: Astley Abbotts, Barrow, Bicton, Hodnet, Llanfair Waterdine, Market Drayton, Pimhill, Prees, Sheriffhales and Tong. All clusters are expected to be live by early 2021.

Locals typically have to pay from £38 per month for the provider’s 40Mbps (10Mbps upload) unlimited fibre tier (plus £99 to £250 one-off for installation) on a 12 month contract, which rises to £47 for their top 100Mbps (25Mbps upload) service.

The ISP is also being supported by an earlier investment of £16m via the National Digital Infrastructure Fund (here) – plus another £25m if you include all of their state aid / BDUK contracts – and hopes to bring superfast broadband to a further 50,000 premises across the whole of England and Wales by 2021.

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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.
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16 Responses
  1. Martin Pitt - Aquiss says:

    Living in Bridgnorth myself, Astley Abbotts being 1/2 mile outside the town, this has raised an eyebrow as this will be overbuild. Astley Abbotts is already well covered by FTTC that was paid for by BDUK.

    1. Chris Taylor says:

      Whilst some of Astley Abbots have access from our previous BDUK BT contract some premises were too far away to get superfast. As a result we are back filling the area with an inclusive full fibre cluster to serve those premises that couldn’t get 30 Mbps.

    2. Martin Pitt - Aquiss says:

      Morning Chris. I’ve just had with Ben Walker about the situation and now understand what’s going on in a bit more detail.

    3. NGA for all says:

      Chris, are BT doing in-fill extending from what’s there, or is this an entire new infrastructure from Airband?

  2. Chris Taylor says:

    This is not BT infill. Airband are using PIA passive access where there is capacity. They are building a new ‘open access’ network.

    1. NGA for all says:

      Thank you. A bit weird given BT owe so much. Have BT done much FTTP-in fill in Shropshire?

    2. Andrew Ferguson says:

      Bangs head against the wall as keep having to repeat this….

      The council chose AIrband rather than BT for this contract, so this work is nothing to do with BT

    3. NGA for all says:

      Andrew ..Do as you please.. it is legitimate to ask why in-fill was not conducted by the principal supplier with the funds available to do the work, where the intent was to go as far as possible.

      It is inefficient and indeed somewhat absurd to contract another supplier to use BT’s PIA to conduct in-fill when the elements are already available to extend the network using the existing funds.

      This logic of the contracts is reduced to an absurdity when customers in the same area end up with a different choice where the net underlying cost has to be higher with PIA costs.

      Was BT refusing to conduct in-fill given the national commitment to do nationwide fibre-on-demand by the then CEO of Openreach from April 2015?

  3. Bobby Richards says:

    More fool council chose Airband rather than Openreach for this contract.
    Airband are totally rubbish and unreliable.

    1. Sascha hobbs says:

      You know this do you, and good old b.t.open reach are really reliable what a baffoon comment

    2. Andrew Taylor says:

      Are you a customer? Not what I’ve heard.

    3. A_Builder says:

      Look on the bright side – at leat someone is doing something useful here.

      Or would you rather wait for something that might happen in the next couple of years? If you had a dreadful connect jam tomorrow isn’t a lot of use.

      Maybe the council wanted to experiment with other smaller more nimble providers to get stuff done – if so great.

    4. Bob Richards says:

      I have been a customer; I know customers and I have read and do read reviews Sascha Hobbs, I also know you work at Airband and have a temper (quick google search of quite a unique name).
      Airband cover a big area and I am sure that like BT/OR they have good and bad areas, sadly they just can’t admin that! (BT are more than happy to say not all is perfect and in many areas they are giving the best they can over the old Victorian network. Airband have been around for a decade (BT’s can trace back to 1846) so should be a superior product. In some areas they are not and their hybrid fibre can in no way be compared to BT’s.
      I just hope the government and Boris enforce some standards in what currently is a very shoddy and inaccurate market, it used to be double glazing and car sales that had the reputation the telecoms industry has now.

  4. CarlT says:

    Where’s Cyberdoyle / Chris Conder complaining about their referring to premises passed rather than premises connected, or does that only apply to Openreach?

    1. A_Builder says:

      Maybe the auto post bot is broken ATM?

  5. Bob builder says:

    Ex Airbad…i mean Airband employee… The network is very sub standard with Admin staff that don’t know what they are doing and reliability falls to the engineers…. When the network first started they was advised to follow a Bt/Or style system but they opted for a cheaper system

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