WORCESTER-based wireless broadband specialist, Airband was shortlisted for the highly regarded Internet Service Providers Association 2017 awards. The awards follow the shake-up of the broadband industry by Ofcom’s Connected Nations Report in December 2016, which slammed major suppliers including BT. Since then Airband, along with other smaller independent suppliers, has been steadily building up its presence with a string of key projects across rural Devon, the South West and Wales.
Airband specialises in delivering better broadband connections for hard-to-reach and rural areas and bridging the gap between the digital ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’. The firm’s work on a ?4.6m scheme in Dartmoor and Exmoor national park and a series of ?multi-million schemes across the South West earmarked its place as a finalist in the awards. Airband recently won the tender for the Superfast Cymru Infill Project contract from the Welsh government to supply business premises in Cardiff, Newport and Swansea.
Initially, the firm is contracted to provide high speed broadband to 2,000 businesses as part of an estimated ?19m expansion to the original Superfast Cymru scheme.
“Poor broadband and low speed problems are just as real for many out-of-town industrial parks, as they are for rural farms and businesses,” said Airband founder and director Redmond Peel.
“In these areas, traditional fibre broadband deals are often slower and more restrictive – but it’s possible to bypass the fibre system and end up with some of the UK’s fastest broadband speeds,” he said.
A WORCESTER broadband supplier has won a contract to extend the network into rural Wales. Airband Community Internet, which is headquartered in St Mary’s Street, has established broadband networks across Worcestershire, Herefordshire and Shropshire and has now added Wales, Devon and Somerset to its portfolio.
Managing director and co-founder of Airband, Redmond Peel said: 2015 has been a hugely successful year for Airband. Securing this contract with the Welsh Authority, as well as the contract in Devon and Somerset, is a real game changer for us. We ve used law firm Thursfields before and yet again, its support has been invaluable at what was a critical time. Stuart Price, who leads the technology and creative industries team at Thursfields, advised Airband in connection with its contractual relationship with the Welsh Authority.
Mr Price added: Airband is an existing client of the firm and it s really great to help it once again with its ambitious growth plans and to be part of a local success story, making a real difference to the lives of people in rural communities .
Superfast broadband cash could soon get EC all-clear
VITAL cash needed to fund superfast broadband connections for rural homes could soon be released, says a county MP.
It comes after she asked Government for a progress report on where the process was.
Back in June, European Union competition officials put the brakes on to check if the UK Government was breaking complex EU trade rules preventing state aid.
However, Mrs Baldwin, who represents West Worcestershire, says there is an expectation the money will be waved through by the European Commission s directorate general imminently.
That view was confirmed by the Government department for culture, media and sport, although it would only say the news was expected shortly .
Councillor Simon Geraghty, Worcestershire County Council4 s economic chief, said the quicker a decision could be made, the better, as the amount of infrastructure work needed to be carried out nationally between now and the end of 2015 is stacking up.
In Worcestershire, the council has ring-fenced 18.5 million to the project.
Its target is connecting 90 per cent of county homes and businesses to a 24-mbit superfast line within three years.
Culture, media and sport spokesman Paul Conroy said: It s fair to say that we had expected to hear from the European Commission by now but we expect to hear shortly.
We expect it will be resolved and given state aid approval.
In May, Worcestershire County Council was told it would get 3.3 million of cash to help roll-out superfast broadband to about 250,000 households scattered across rural Worcestershire.
About a quarter of the county s households were set to benefit.
Nationally, British Telecom and Fujitsu are the only two firms able to bid for the Broadband Delivery UK council contracts.
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