Tag: broadband

At last hope for truly superfast rural broadband as council announces Airband contract

Earlier today, Shropshire Council announced that it is to take a different approach to getting decent broadband to rural premises. It will be using the high-speed wireless technology provided by Airband, a Worcester based company that is already delivering to many areas in Wales and the Marches. The £11.2 million contract is long overdue and very welcome. We need high speed broadband across all rural areas for our work, education, health and social needs. The great advantage of this system is that it does not rely on expensive broadband cabinets or the lumbering telecoms giant, BT to get broadband to your home or business. For once we have the promise of getting decent broadband to our rural villages, farms and hamlets.

We can no longer use the excuse that it is difficult to install broadband across Shropshire because we are a rural county. Most rural areas are doing much better than we are. It is the failure of Shropshire Council to invest in broadband that lies at the heart of the problem. A few weeks back, Patrick Cosgrove, Shropshire’s indomitable broadband campaigner, circulated some interesting data in his newsletter. I’ve drawn up a graph of the data and it is quite a shocker. Only 24 out of 321 local authorities (7%) have worse fibre broadband coverage than Shropshire.[1]

Shropshire Council today announced that superfast broadband will reach more villages and rural hamlets in Shropshire. That’s very good news, but it’s a partial picture. This is the picture for Bromfield that’s given by the council’s Connecting Shropshire project: This map shows Bromfield parish as having superfast broadband available from spring 2015. That’s not quite right. This service will be only be available to the main village and a short way beyond. It will not reach most of the hamlets and farms across Bromfield parish. The superfast connections that are planned will be provided from a single cabinet in the village. That will serve businesses such as the Food Centre well. It is unlikely to be much help to people who struggle to get any internet connection at all on the farms and hamlets towards the Mortimer Forest, Whitbatch and High Walton. Mobile phone signals are also rubbish in those areas. We increasingly rely on broadband for business, education and entertainment. In the near future, we are also likely to rely on the internet for healthcare. We must put more effort into mobile broadband to connect our remoter settlements that copper and fibre broadband will never reach. Mind you, you…

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