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Colchester Seeks to Become the first UK High Speed Wireless Internet Town

Posted: 19th Jul, 2011 By: MarkJ
colchester uk council logoWi-Fi LogoThe Colchester Borough Council in South East England (just above London) has given official approval to a new Digital Strategy that aims to blanket the town in a mix of superfast 40-50Mbps fixed line and 11Mbps Wi-Fi wireless broadband services over the next five years, which they hope will turn it into the country's first "High Speed Wireless Town".

A survey conducted last year found that the average internet download speed in Colchester was 4.2Mbps. In some rural areas of the borough, which are home to 33% of residents and 25% of businesses, current broadband speeds are 0.5-2Mbps.

Colchester Councillor, Nick Barlow, said:

"Providing users with low cost digital access will bring a range of other benefits to Colchester, including helping to create safer communities and reducing the need to travel. Successful delivery of the strategy will bring benefits to local businesses and encourage more businesses to relocate into the town, with the potential of creating more jobs. A wide variety of sectors including retail, tourism and the creative industries could receive a considerable boost."

Colchester Councillor, Paul Smith, added:

"Colchester Borough Council is leading the way in delivering Next Generation Access Broadband Services. This innovative project and unique partnership which could see up to £15million invested in Colchester will help address the needs of people of all ages across the borough by helping them reap the benefits of the digital age, whether that be staying in touch, accessing business and services or enhancing their leisure time."

The Council claims that it "will not have to make a financial investment in the project" but should benefit from a sustainable income through the provision of access to its street furniture, rooftops and ducting to enable the installation of micro aerials. Further income could also come from online sponsorship and advertising.

Wireless operator The Cloud (BSkyB) will take responsibility for turning the borough into an 11Mbps capable Digital Wireless Town, while Motorola and BriskNet will develop the High Speed Urban and Business Broadband solution. The project aims to help rural areas first.

The UK government wants 90% of "people in each local authority area" to be within reach of a superfast (25Mbps+) broadband ISP service by 2015, with the last 10% gaining a minimum service speed of at least 2Mbps.
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