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Freedom Fibre Begin Project Gigabit UK Broadband Build in Shropshire

Tuesday, Apr 9th, 2024 (4:32 pm) - Score 1,080

Network builder Freedom Fibre has announced that they’ve begun the build phase of their £24m state aid supported Project Gigabit broadband rollout contract, which aims to upgrade connectivity for “around” 12,000 hard-to-reach homes and businesses across rural parts of North Shropshire (Lot 25.02) in England to their full fibre (FTTP) network.

The contract award was officially announced in May 2023 (here) and, since then, the operator has been busy conducting the usual pre-build engineering surveys and design work. The good news is that they finally entered the build phase for this in March 2024 and the rollout is expected to complete by the end of 2026 (extra credits to FF for being one of the few Project Gigabit schemes to actually confirm a completion target).

NOTE: Equitix-backed Freedom Fibre currently covers 300,000 premises.

On the other hand, today’s announcement fails to say precisely where the deployment phase has begun its initial build. But the original announcement did name the communities of Cockshutt, Hinstock, High Ercall, Bomere Heath, Hadnall, Cheswardine and Clive. The prior announcement also indicated that the first properties could then start to go live from October 2024.

In addition to this, Freedom Fibre said they will connect an additional 60,000 premises, transforming broadband speeds and reliability for residents and businesses owners. The operator has also committed to a range of social value commitments, such as tree planting, volunteer days and financial support for good and green community projects.

Neil McArthur MBE, Chief Executive Officer of Freedom Fibre, said:

“We are delighted to be rolling out our lightning-fast, full-fibre network across North Shropshire. This investment will be transformational, unleashing so much potential for residents and businesses alike.”

Julia Lopez, Digital Infrastructure Minister, said:

“With a £24 million boost from the UK Government, North Shropshire is poised for a digital revolution. Lightning-fast, reliable broadband will connect thousands of rural homes and businesses, ushering in a new era of opportunity and economic growth for the region.

As part of Project Gigabit, we’re rolling out gigabit-capable networks faster than any other country in Europe, putting an end to buffering and bad connections. It’s great to see how our plan for better broadband is helping rural Shropshire transform, with huge leaps in available internet speeds now on their way to the most hard-to-reach homes and businesses”.

Once live, customers in areas that are due to benefit from this rollout will be able to take packages from a variety of ISPs, such as strategic partner TalkTalk and smaller players like the Fusion Fibre Group, Squirrel Internet and Link Broadband.

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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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