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The Kenton Group Offers 2Mb Long Line Reach Broadband Technology in Scotland

Posted: 11th Apr, 2011 By: MarkJ
scotland uk regions map2015 2mbps USC signThe Kenton Group (TKG), a UK network access supplier, has finally found a little known ISP in Scotland (Scotnet) to adopt its expensive and often criticised Broadband Enabling Technology (BET) solution for remote and rural areas.

TKG first announced its BET solution last month (here), which has the ability to deliver broadband ISP speeds of up to 2Mbps to UK rural homes and businesses that reside up to 12km away from their local BT telephone exchange. That's way above the limit of existing ADSL solutions, which hit serious problems at around 6.5km.

According to TKG, several telephone exchanges in Longformacus and Ettrick Valley in the Scottish Borders and Portsoy, Aboyne, Auchenblae and Inverbervie in Aberdeenshire are set to go live with the technology, which was selected by Scotnet following a BT trial period that began last September 2010.

This all sounds like good news and indeed the project has just won substantial funding from the LEADER programme and its community driven €1m Rural Broadband Challenge Fund to fulfil the requirement to deliver an efficient level of broadband service in rural areas.

John Larkin, MD of The Kenton Group, said:

"Until now, Scottish communities outside the reach of their local telephone exchanges have had to cope with poor broadband access in comparison to neighbours close by whose homes and businesses sit within the 5km signal range previously achievable.

No affordable solution has been developed until now and we are delighted that Scotnet is leading the way in Scotland with the installation of this long reaching broadband technology, which has the ability to double the signal from the exchange to around 12km. It is a per user solution, so is ideal for rural locations and is affordable for areas with only a handful of households."

BET (SHDSL) is very similar to ADSL and could well help the government to meet its Universal Service Commitment (USC), which aims to make a broadband download speed of at least 2Mbps available to everybody in the country by 2015.

However, the technology has also been criticised by both MP's (here) and most of the mainstream ISP industry (here) because of how much it costs (wholesale BET pricing details). At over £1k per connection you'd be hard pressed to find many takers.

Scotnet's Director, Stuart Glendinning, disagrees:

"We are very impressed by the BET solution and during our trials we have seen firsthand the significant benefits it has to offer, not only with its means for long reaching broadband access. In our trials it has proved to be faster and more reliable than ADSL, being resilient to fluctuations and offering a more stable connection.

Residents have had to wait a substantial amount of time for a solution that is viable, both technologically and financially, but working in partnership we are now able to deliver improved broadband services to our customers through BET. The benefits of good broadband are tremendous not only for the users but also for the local economy, boosting business development, house prices and the appeal of the locations."

The technology itself isn't bad and if Scotnet has managed to overcome the cost issue then it could prove to be incredibly useful. Still, these days many people would probably consider 2Mbps to be a low bandwidth solution.

Sadly their website, which looks like it hasn't changed much since 1992 when they first launched a dialup service, offers no further details about price. In the meantime funding applications are already being processed for several other communities to receive the technology.
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