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Rural ISP Wessex Internet Scoops Win at 2024 Countryside Alliance Awards

Wednesday, Apr 17th, 2024 (7:50 am) - Score 400

Rural UK ISP Wessex Internet, which is rolling out a full fibre gigabit broadband network across isolated parts of Dorset, Wiltshire, Hampshire and Somerset in England, has celebrated after they won the Rural Enterprise category for the South West region of the 2024 Countryside Alliance Awards.

The Countryside Alliance Awards, which are now in their 17th year, were setup to help recognise businesses that go the extra mile within their communities, such as by supporting the local economy and championing local goods and services. Wessex Internet was initially nominated anonymously by their customers, before later topping a public vote to win the award.

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).

At present the operators existing broadband network footprint is vaguely said to cover “tens of thousands of homes” (some of this may relate to their older fixed wireless infrastructure), while their current business plan targets an “additional150,000 premises by 2027 through a combination of subsidised and unsubsidised capital investment.

More recently, we’ve also seen Wessex Internet scoop the government’s Project Gigabit roll-out contracts for rural parts of North Dorset (Lot 14.01 – £6m to cover 7,100 premises), the New Forest – Hampshire (Lot 27.01 – £14m to cover 10,500 premises), South Wiltshire (Lot 30 – £18.8m to cover 14,500 premises) and Dorset and South Somerset (Lot 14 – £33.5m to cover 21,400 premises).

Hector Gibson Fleming, CEO at Wessex Internet, said:

“We have always sought to be champions and enablers of the rural economy – through providing ultrafast broadband to areas overlooked by other companies, as an employer of choice for hundreds of local people, and by working in consultation with rural communities and landowners in how we build our network.

I am also delighted for our neighbours at the Child Okeford Village Shop and know first-hand how popular the shop is with our teams. With many villages unfortunately seeing the closure of local amenities, we are lucky to have a nearby shop that provides many locally sourced products – including delicious deli lunches – and an essential Post Office service. By providing ultrafast broadband to Child Okeford and other villages like it, Wessex Internet will also continue doing our part to help rural communities thrive.”

Last year also saw Wessex Internet being named ‘Fibre Provider of the Year’ at the 2023 UK Fibre Awards, as well as winning ‘Best Rural Provider’ for the second year running, and was awarded ‘Best Rural ISP’ at the 2023 ISPA Awards.

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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