Superfast Wireless Broadband from Relish Goes Live in Southwark
Long suffering residents of the SE16 area (e.g. Rotherhithe), inside the central London borough of Southwark, are starting to get access to faster broadband connections. This comes after local ISP Relish Wireless (UK Broadband Ltd.) began installing the first of several new masts (aerials).
Overall London already has very good coverage of “superfast broadband” (24Mbps+) capable networks, which should be available to around 97% of premises. Sadly this isn’t true for every borough in the city and Southwark has long been known to be one of the weaker areas for such services (around 92% coverage). The large number of Exchange Only Lines (EOL), which are particularly expensive to tackle, doesn’t help.
Toward the end of last year the Southwark Council finally moved to address this by setting out a new digital strategy (here). As part of that plan the council confirmed that they were signing a number of lease agreements, which would enable operators to install “wireless broadband infrastructure on a number of council owned buildings [that] will supply up to 40Mb broadband speeds across 70% of the borough.” The operators’ concerned were UK Broadband Ltd. (they’re now owned by Three UK and also run local ISP Relish Wireless) and Cornerstone Telecommunications Infrastructure Ltd (CTIL).
The latter is the company responsible for managing O2 and Vodafone‘s UK mobile network(s). In all, 26 new UKB installations, including 4 in the Rotherhithe area, and 13 new CTIL sites were planned, bringing the total number of UKB and CTIL installations on council owned assets to 28 and 25 respectively. With the exception of 3 installations, all new wireless telecommunications aerials will be hosted on the rooftops of residential housing blocks.
The good news is that UKB has recently begun to deploy these, with the first one going live at a site on Swan Road. The Rotherhithe sites are among the first to be installed and deployment should be completed before Easter, while the unrelated CTIL sites are still expected to be completed by the end of Spring 2018. A few people have already connected to the service and are reporting significantly faster speeds than their old fixed line ADSL connections via Openreach (BT) based ISPs, which is good since Relish Wireless sometimes struggles in the speed and connection stability department (location dependent).
Customers typically pay from GBP22 inc. VAT per month for Relish’s ‘up to’ 40Mbps service with unlimited usage (this price recently increased by +GBP2), which includes a free wireless router on the 12 month term or a GBP70 one-off charge for those taking out a 1 month contract. Relish uses a fixed wireless form of 4G (LTE) technology in the 3.5GHz to 3.6GHz bands.
The council hopes that the income generated from these new lease agreements, plus the uplift in rents received for existing UKB and CTIL sites, should represent a “significant revenue source … over the next 15 years.” The first year of income is expected to be about GBP200,000 and this will help to fund the delivery of the council’s new Digital Infrastructure Strategy.
Credits to Alloneword for the spot.
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