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Wessex Internet’s New Forest Project Gigabit Broadband Network Goes Live

Thursday, Mar 28th, 2024 (11:32 am) - Score 680
Wessex Internet Engineer Running Fibre into Chamber

Rural UK ISP Wessex Internet has today announced that the first customers have been connected as part of their £14m state aid supported Project Gigabit broadband contract in the New Forest area (Lot 27.01) of Hampshire (England), which is extending their Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) network to cover “around” 10,500 hard-to-reach premises.

The operator’s civil engineers started installing the new full fibre network in the small village of Martin during December 2023, which is home to over 400 people and is due to act as their springboard for reaching into the rest of the New Forest. Suffice to say, this is also the first location to go live on the new network today.

NOTE: Wessex Internet is backed by majority shareholder abrdn and in late 2023 secured £35m of additional funding, including a Senior Debt Facility from Triodos Bank (here).

Martin is just one of many rural villages in Hampshire that will be benefitting from the Project Gigabit contract, which during 2024 will also be reaching into areas such as Whitsbury, Damerham, Rockbourne, Sway and Brockenhurst. The full roll-out is expected to take around “three years” to complete, which suggests a rough completion date of December 2026.

Jez Allman, Chief Commercial Officer at Wessex Internet, said:

“Martin is our first completed network build as part of Project Gigabit New Forest. It’s great to be working with the community and the government to provision ultrafast broadband into people’s homes and businesses, so that they can benefit more fully from the Internet of Things (IoT). We’re very proud of the collaborative effort achieved in this project between the Martin community and the Wessex Internet team.”

At present the provider’s existing network footprint is vaguely said to cover “tens of thousands of homes” (some of this may relate to their older wireless broadband network), while their current business plan targets an “additional” 150,000 premises by 2027 through a combination of subsidised and unsubsidised capital investment.

Prices for their full fibre packages start at £29 per month for a 100Mbps (15Mbps upload) tier on a 12-month term, but this only comes with a meagre 100GB data allowance (£44 for unlimited), and you’ll have to pay £49 (one-off) for activation. By comparison, their top unlimited usage plan will give 900Mbps (450Mbps upload) for £79 per month, which is fairly expensive by today’s standards, albeit still good if nobody else can supply FTTP.

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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 X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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