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ISP Airband Begins Oxfordshire Rural FTTP Broadband Build

Wednesday, February 12th, 2020 (3:06 pm) - Score 1,616
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UK ISP Airband has announced that they’ve begun work on the new state aid supported Broadband for Rural Businesses in Oxfordshire (BiRO) project, which despite the name aims to supply 557 business and 619 incidental residential premises with access to their ultrafast Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) network.

At present the existing state aid supported Better Broadband for Oxfordshire project with BT and Building Digital UK has already helped to extend “superfast broadband” (24Mbps+) network coverage to around 97% of the county (up from 69% in 2012). The new BiRO project, which is being supported by both Openreach and Airband (here), will help to further boost that.

Airband holds Lots 3 and 4 of the aforementioned contract, which covers two District Councils (Vale of White Horse and South Oxfordshire). As part of that they’ve committed to extending their full fibre network to 1,176 premises by the end of March 2021. BiRO is being supported by £6.3m in public funding through DEFRA’s Rural Broadband Infrastructure Fund (RBI), with Airband set to scoop £2,852,216 of that.

The new fibre deployment, which should benefit 17 clusters over 450km, began its work at night last week on Thame High Street.

Andy Brain, Airband Project Lead, said:

“This first cluster stretches from Thame to Chinnor. We’ll also be working on other clusters at the same time including the second cluster which goes from Henley-on-Thames to Lower Shiplake and Sonning Common and a third cluster from Childrey to Kingston Lisle, west of Wantage. We expect all of these clusters to be finished by June 2020 if not before.”

Nick Carter, Oxfordshire County Councillor, said:

“Faster broadband is a game changer for rural areas and access to ultrafast connectivity will help so many of rural businesses to prosper and grow. A lot of time, money and effort has gone into the BiRO project because providing better connectivity for our rural areas is so important, both now and in the future.”

The brief mention above of Henley-on-Thames is interesting since that’s where rival ISP Zzoomm has recently gone live with their own commercial FTTP build (here), although by the sounds of it Airband won’t be directly encroaching into that market; at least not too deeply.

Otherwise Airband are also making use of existing infrastructure where possible (e.g. Openreach’s cable ducts) and sometimes need to request access to infrastructure via privately owned land. In one example under BiRO they had to make use of infrastructure on land owned by the luxury Oxfordshire Golf, Hotel & Spa via a structured business arrangement.

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1 Response
  1. Avatar Wycliffe Kisuya KECO-CAST director

    Have you extend to Kenya? Or what plans do you have to reach other countries

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