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Airband Boosts Rural UK Full Fibre Rollout to 600,000 Premises

Friday, October 22nd, 2021 (2:55 pm) - Score 1,728
airband fttp build telegraph pole

Worcestershire-based wireless and full fibre broadband ISP Airband has today secured a significant £100m investment boost (debt financing) to help accelerate their rollout of a new ultrafast Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) network, which will now aim to cover 600,000 UK premises by the end of 2025.

The provider had previously (November 2020) committed to cover 500,000 premises by the end of 2025 (here), which occurred after Aberdeen Standard Investments (ASI) acquired a majority stake in the company. By comparison, today’s agreement reflects a £100m debt package from an international banking consortium including HSBC, Lloyds, Nord LB and Sabadell.

NOTE: Airband’s wireless and fibre network currently supports 100,000 premises.

At present Airband has networks across nine counties in the UK – including the Midlands, Shropshire, Cheshire, Herefordshire, Oxfordshire, Wales and Devon and Somerset. But until fairly recently many of those deployments involved Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) networks, although over the past couple of years they’ve started to build much more FTTP and hold a number of key state aid supported contracts (e.g. Devon and Somerset).

The new investment will accelerate their rollout to cover an additional 100,000 premises (600,000 total) by the same date as before. As part of that, over 10,000km of new fibre will be deployed across “hundreds of rural communities” in a bid to provide homes in the West of England and Home Counties with “future-proof connections“.

Airband’s founder, Redmond Peel, said:

“We created Airband in 2009 to supply rural areas with the high-quality internet they deserve. The pandemic has increasingly highlighted the deficit some communities in the UK face when it comes to services that those living in urban areas take for granted. Access to reliable and fast broadband that is fit for modern day lives – from home education and online grocery shopping during the lockdown through to the digitisation of many services, such as banking and streaming entertainment – can no longer be considered a luxury, but rather a basic utility.”

Airband added that they also facilitate projects within the community that have a positive societal impact. For example, it has given Devon Air Ambulance access to its broadband on a tactically important farmland site in Romansleigh, in North Devon. This has allowed the service to establish a night landing site that uses remote control lighting on Airband’s telegraph pole in order to operate safely.

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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.
Leave a Comment
5 Responses
  1. Paul says:

    Sounds a really decent project. Hope they can acquire some business connections along the way and offer 5G cellsite leased lines or dark fibre to get the big money rolling in to recoup the investment and keep the cash flowing.

  2. Craig says:

    They’ve ‘confirmed’ via email and IG that they’ll be bringing FTTP to my part of Paignton. After 8 years on 4mb with no VM or FTTC, I’ll believe it when I see it. Fingers crossed.

  3. Joe says:

    AB do seem quite busy on various proposed or building projects. And they do seem to be doing some useful infill work. Albeit some of the projects do seem to defy belief that its been left to that route. (One in particular a small pocket of a village with long established FTTC/FTTP on either side within 100yrds looks likely to get AB in ’23!)

  4. James says:

    Coming to a nearby community in West Devon but full fibre at 250/50, what technology is it ;FTTP or is it via FWA or a mixture of both?

  5. Rob Watson says:

    Airband are making more progress for rural broadband in a short space of time than BT have done in many decades !…. BT’s FAILURE to invest in infrastructure vis Openreach is farcical at best yet boast 95% coverage of the U.K… Clearly a LIE !
    With Plusnet being part of their holdings they cannot boast these lies any more as including leased to other distributers is clearly misleading

    Even without the facility or geography to lay or hang cable Airband offer an over the air solution using mast transmitters, plus a small “dish” on your premises for both residential and businesses alike, a win win for Airband over the luddites at BT

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