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New Project Bringing Wireless Broadband to Rural Parts of Angus

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2020 (11:46 am) - Score 552
farming rural broadband mobile and cows

A new project between the Angus Council, SmartRural and UK ISP Rapier Systems in Scotland looks set to help bring “high speed broadband” connectivity to some of the county’s remotest rural residences and businesses via a new gigabit-capable Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) network.

The new project forms part of the recently agreed Tay Cities Region Deal, which among other things included an investment of “up to” £1m for the Rural Angus Project (RAP). The original announcement said this would “focus on creating a solution to provide remote and rural properties with high quality wireless connectivity.”

The plan is designed to complement another commitment in the deal, which saw the UK Government invest up to £2m to develop both the above project and the Rural Perth and Kinross High Speed Broadband scheme. These projects will both enhance rural connectivity across the region and are supported by a further £5.9m via the Local Full Fibre Network (LFFN) programme (i.e. building a gigabit Dark Fibre network to connect public sector sites, such as schools).

So far as we can tell, the RAP will aim to build out from the new fibre optic infrastructure by deploying a new fixed wireless network using links located on local farms (host farms will benefit from free broadband). The first phase of the project will target an area of over 100 square miles, serving local homes and businesses, and is scheduled to commence in early 2021.

In addition to free broadband, host farms will also be offered the opportunity to join the SmartRural network and deploy a range of smart IoT devices (most likely using a separate low power LoRaWAN wireless network), which could help them to run their businesses (e.g. weather stations, river level monitors, cold store thermometers, GPS tracking of livestock and machinery etc.).

David Fairweather, Angus Council Leader, said:

“Being digitally connected is key to staying in touch with loved ones, working from home, and is essential for local businesses, so it’s great to see Angus Council alongside SmartRural and Rapier Systems, making this investment to ensure superfast internet speed becomes a reality for our Angus citizens. Thanks to the Tay Cities Deal funding, this opportunity can happen much more quickly, short cutting what could have been a long process.”

Richard Watson, MD of Rapier Systems, added:

“Key to the delivery of this project is the network of host farms that SmartRural has mobilised, where the cutting-edge equipment will be located.

Making use of existing built infrastructure keeps the cost down, speed of deployment up and the connectivity speed up – in most cases we will be able to deliver around 10Gbps (10,000mbps) between farms and other backhaul locations, much more quickly than fibre and without the disruption and associated costs.

The key to the success of the project is without doubt, collaboration – without which, we cannot hope to deliver what we know we can.”

The mention above of running a 10Gbps radio link between farms leads us to suspect that Rapier Systems will be deploying their latest multi-Gigabit speed capable 60GHz cnWave (Terragraph) technology from Cambium Networks and Facebook (details), although residential packages will probably be a bit closer to the 1Gbps or slower territory.

One interesting thing about all this is that Angus Council aren’t waiting for the Scottish Government’s £579m Reaching 100% (R100) rollout of FTTP via Openreach (BT) to arrive, which could in some areas still take several years to complete (here).

Hopefully more details about the related consumer packages and network coverage will surface in the New Year.

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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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1 Response
  1. Biss66 says:

    This is great news and once they have that up and running hopefully they start bringing “high speed broadband” in the Angus towns…

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