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Wireless UK ISP Wildanet Get £400k to Grow Cornwall Network

Wednesday, April 8th, 2020 (10:09 am) - Score 845

Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) ISP Wildanet, which is working to extend their superfast broadband network to rural premises across parts of Cornwall, Devon, Dorset and possibly South Wales, has secured additional equity investment of £400,000 from the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Investment Fund (CIOSIF).

The latest pot of funding comes roughly a year after their first award of an initial £750,000 from CIOSIF, which is a fund with a total of £40m to invest in various small projects. Since then the ISP claims to have been busy extending their infrastructure and is now saying that they’re “ready to connect” over 100,000 properties (it’s unclear if this is a measure of future or live coverage).

So far we haven’t seen much information about their actual network roll-out since last year and their website lacks a coverage map (at least we couldn’t see an obvious one with a quick check), which makes it very difficult to know where their availability actually exists or how it’s changed over the past 12 months.

We do at least recall that, under last year’s plan, the ISP was aiming to target 12,000 new customers and create an estimated 39 jobs by around the end of 2021, which would be an extremely rapid growth for a provider that had fewer than 100 customers in September 2018. Today’s announcement reveals that they’ve since grown this base to include over 500 premises (still a very long way to go) and now hope to employ 50 staff by the end of 2021.

Ian Calvert, Wildanet’s CEO and Founder, said:

“The coming months are going to difficult for all businesses and we are no exception, but with Cornwall still lagging behind much of the UK when it comes to reliable internet, we feel strongly that we must push forward with a ‘business as usual’ approach as far as possible. We look forward to continuing to work with the CIOSIF team at The FSE Group, who have supported us over the last year.”

Ralph Singleton, The FSE Group’s Head of Funds in Cornwall, added:

“Wildanet has made steady progress, building a customer base of more than 500 households and businesses. Their offering has impressed us from the start and this is now endorsed by the company’s exceptional customer retention rates. We hope this investment will be the stepping-stone to a major future funding round, which would allow the business to reach its full potential across its current WiFi technology, as well as further develop the progress they are making with fibre technology.”

Residential packages start at £29.95 per month for a unlimited 30Mbps service with a 24 month contract term (plus a standard one-off installation charge of £99) and rise to £48.95 for a 50Mbps connection. Interestingly the ISP says that those headline speeds are “guaranteed” and the small print separately appears to suggest that all upload speeds for every package are set at just 5Mbps (no other upstream rates are mentioned).

The biggest challenge for Wildanet right now is of course the same one that every ISP with its own infrastructure plan faces, COVID-19, which could potentially dent their future growth. We wish them well, even though it would be good to start seeing some solid updates on their future coverage and current availability.

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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
1 Response
  1. Avatar Michael V

    It would certainly be good to have a FWA ISP in South Wales. Those upload speeds are really disappointing though.
    The more rural areas of the Vale of Glamorgan [the county nxt to Cardiff] still lacks 3G & 4G, regardless of what the MNOs say. I think it would be welcomed more over South West Wales also.

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