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SWS Broadband Unveil Expanded FTTP Rollout for Shropshire UK

Monday, August 16th, 2021 (10:32 am) - Score 1,152
SWS Broadband Leaflet in Rural Field

UK ISP SWS Broadband (Rural Broadband Solutions Plc), which predominantly serves rural premises in parts of Shropshire (England) and Wales, has today announced an expanded 3-year plan to deploy a new Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) network to cover over 50,000 properties within Shropshire alone (including 15,000 connected).

We first reported on the provider’s ambition to upgrade their existing Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) network with support for gigabit-capable broadband services over a year ago (here), when details were hard to find. But in June 2021 it finally became clear that they intended to start this work by “converting” an initial 24 of their existing villages to “full fibreFTTP (here) – since then they’ve earmarked a total of 50 villages for this work.

NOTE: SWS’ current network comprises approximately 270 masts/relays and multiple fibre connections for those.

The first villages to benefit were named as Stiperstones and Woolston. At the time SWS (RBBS) said that their existing network already delivered an internet connection to c.2,600 poorly served premises, and they hoped to increase that to 5,000 customers over the coming years, but this plan has now been turbocharged.

Under the expanded plan, SWS will now aim to make their new gigabit-capable network available to over 50,000 rural properties within Shropshire alone by the end of 2024, with at least 15,000 connected. In the meantime, customers on their existing wireless network will also be able to access faster broadband speeds of up to 90Mbps (up from 30Mbps before).

Chris New, RBBS Chief Strategist & Technical Officer, said:

“Our goal is to support rural communities, both in Shropshire and in Wales, to access broadband services equivalent to those in major cities and towns by removing the digital divide through the implementation of future-proof, gigabit-capable infrastructure. We are delighted to be updating our three year target which we set in October 2020 from 5,000 to 15,000 customers.”

The latest regulatory filing also mentions that they’ve now completed the first phase of their 100Gbps Dark Fibre network around Shropshire – this initial loop includes the towns of Shrewsbury, Church Stretton, Craven Arms, Bishops Castle, Pontesbury and Minsterley. As a result, their existing FWA mast sites are now being fed by 10Gbps capacity links (hence the increased top speed to 90Mbps).

The new Dark Fibre infrastructure will also help to support their FTTP expansion into local homes and businesses. Customers in their new FTTP areas can expect to pay from £26 per month for an unlimited 30Mbps (10Mbps upload) service with free installation on a 24-month term, which rises to £89 per month for their top 900Mbps (60Mbps upload) tier.

Some of this new build is being funded with support from the UK Government’s (Building Digital UK) gigabit voucher scheme.

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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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