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Wessex Internet’s FTTP Broadband Goes Live in Dorset Villages

Thursday, July 29th, 2021 (1:18 pm) - Score 528
Wessex-Internet-fifeheadstquinten

A number of villages in rural parts of Dorset (England) have begun to go live on a new gigabit-capable Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) broadband network, which comes after local ISP Wessex Internet secured additional subsidised voucher funding from Dorset Council and the Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).

The UK government’s Gigabit Voucher Scheme can usually allocate up to £1,500 to eligible homes and £3,500 to businesses in rural areas to help cover the installation costs for new gigabit-capable broadband networks, which can then be pooled by residents. But sometimes even that isn’t enough to help fund difficult rural builds.

Instead, Dorset Council and the Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) worked with the ISP to harness additional funding from the Government’s Getting Building Fund (GBF), which enables residents in such locations to claim top-up vouchers worth up to £2,500 (businesses can also get up to £6,000 each).

Residents in one of the first villages to benefit from this revised top-up scheme, Fifehead St Quintin, have already started to be connected and more will follow. We note that Belchalwell, Ansty and Melcombe Bingham, Melbury Abbas and Cann Common, Sandley, Twyford and West Melbury are all at the build or connection stage.

After that the next to benefit (i.e. those currently in final planning) will be Bugley and Eccliffe, Cann, East and West Chelborough, Lewcombe and Long Crichel. Many more could follow those, provided locals in poorly served Dorset communities express enough interest (see here).

Dorset Council’s deputy leader, Cllr Peter Wharf, said:

“We are delighted to see the first fibre installation using Dorset top-up funding come to fruition.

Seeing a rural community go from struggling on meagre broadband speeds to enjoying ultra-fast connections is exactly why we provided these additional funds.

Without the Dorset top-up, communities like Fifehead St Quintin would still be forced to cope with inadequate broadband not fit for the 21st century. Our rural area must not be left behind in today’s digital world.”

Ludo Skinner, Director of Infrastructure at Wessex Internet, said:

“A sub-standard connection because you live in a rural area is unacceptable. Connectivity is a necessity – rural communities, businesses, schools, and the healthcare sector all depend on it to thrive. We are delighted to be working with Dorset Council. Local authority innovations like their Dorset Rural Gigabit Connectivity Voucher Top Up Scheme address any shortfall in funding and are crucial to ensure that rural areas are no longer overlooked or underserved.”

All of this should complement WI’s existing projects in Dorset, such as their scheme o connect 60 community sites from Blandford to Sherborne to full fibre (here), and their work to cover 8,000 premises in the North Dorset market towns of Blandford Forum and Sturminster Newton (here).

Prices for their full fibre service typically start at £29 per month for a 100Mbps (15Mbps upload) tier on a 12-month term, although this only comes with a 100GB data allowance, and you’ll have to pay £49 (one-off) for activation. By comparison, their top unlimited usage package will give you 900Mbps (300Mbps upload) speeds for £84 per month. The price reflects the high cost of building in remote rural communities.

Leave a Comment
4 Responses
  1. dave says:

    I swear Wessex internet used to have at least wireless service in Bryanston village but now an address there results in “register your interest”. I wonder what happened? Their HQ is in Blandford so it makes sense to have service there.

  2. Carl Conrad says:

    Mark – you mention that WI’s pricing reflects the high cost of building in rural locations – a paltry 100 Gb allowance. But if the build cost is covered by voucher funding or other incentives why should this apply. Wessex Internet are due to be building in my area – I for one need to be convinced of their offer

    1. A says:

      £29 – 100mbps with 100GB allowance
      £44, £59 and £84 for 100,350 and 900mbps respectively with unlimited data.
      There is worse but not by a lot.

  3. Carl Conrad says:

    Reply to A says: Ofcom state that the average user gets through 349Gb per month so what use is 100Gb to most users?

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