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Broadband delight as Shropshire couple connected to superfast network

The project, part of the UK Government’s superfast broadband roll out and supported by the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership, is part of an GBP11.2 million contract to extend superfast broadband to more than 14,000 local premises by 2020. IT security manager Andrew Lee and his wife Sulayma, who live in a village outside Shifnal, are the first to be installed with the superfast broadband under the first phase of the project. The couple have been waiting for faster broadband for four years and are delighted to now have the connection from internet service provider, Airband.

Mr Lee said: “We live in a tiny village with just 46 houses, three miles from Shifnal, close to Cosford airbase, but our communications have always been poor.

Andrew and Sulayma Lee. Photo: James Greenoff-Cairns.

“When BT upgraded the exchange in Albrighton it didn’t make any difference to us, so we were really keen to get a better connection with Airband. “It is a challenging location so installation wasn’t straightforward.

I think this is because we are in a valley and it took a while to establish line-of-sight connection and also because our house is a listed building. They were very patient and thorough and to be honest I’m overjoyed with the results. “Before our Airband connection, we had download speed of 2.5 Mbps.

Streaming stuff was awful – it was always buffering – and working from home was almost impossible. Now we have 30 Mbps and I am able to work from home when I need to.”

Advertising This week’s first live customer announcement comes just a few weeks after Connecting Shropshire and Airband announced the live launch of the first transmitter site, serving over 300 homes and businesses.

Boost to Shropshire’s economy

The transmitter provides superfast broadband connectivity of 30Mbps to parts of Sheriffhales and Shifnal parishes, and other communities further east, such as Tong.

Now that the network for phase one is well underway, it is anticipated that superfast broadband will be available to 7,000 homes by the end of spring this year.

Nic Laurens, Shropshire Council’s cabinet member for broadband, added: “Making superfast broadband available to 14,000+ homes and businesses by the end of 2020 will be a boost to Shropshire’s economy.

“We want to improve the personal and professional lives of people in Shropshire and delivering better broadband services is a key part of this aim.”

First live customer on Airband Superfast Shropshire contract

The Connecting Shropshire scheme has seen its first live customer on the Airband fixed wireless service near Shifnal in Shropshire.

We live in a tiny village with just 46 houses three miles from Shifnal, close to Cosford airbase but our communications have always been poor. When BT upgraded the exchange in Albrighton it didn’t make any difference to us, so we were really keen to get a better connection with Airband. It’s a challenging location so installation wasn’t straightforward.

I think this is because we are in a valley and it took a while to establish line-of-sight connection and also because our house is a listed building. They were very patient and thorough and to be honest I’m overjoyed with the results. Before our Airband connection, we had download speed of 2.5 Mbps.

Streaming stuff was awful – it was always buffering, and working from home was almost impossible. Now we have 30 Mbps and I am able to work from home when I need to. T security manager Andrew Lee and his wife Sulayma

The transmitter has a footprint covering 300 premises and is the first of 28 that are expected to be delivered in the spring phase of 2018 which should see coverage increase to 7,000 premises then we understand that there is subsequent work to do to increase the footprint to over 14,000 premises by 2020.

So for people in Sheriffhales and Shifnal parishes and Tong the new mast may mark the end of having to put up with very slow broadband and to start enjoying superfast services Finding pricing is not that simple as Airband packages vary from area to area, but a postcode that is in the Shifnal area[1] gives us the following (all are 12 month contracts, with GBP99 one off set-up fee):

  • Up to 30 Mbps download, up to 2 Mbps upload, 10 GB usage allowance, GBP10 per month
  • Up to 30 Mbps download, up to 2 Mbps upload, 80 GB usage allowance, GBP30 per month
  • Up to 30 Mbps download, up to 2 Mbps upload, unlimited usage allowance, GBP38 per month
  • Up to 30 Mbps download, up to 4 Mbps upload, unlimited usage allowance, GBP42 per month

The unlimited services do appear to be subject to a fair use policy, the two main extracts of interest are:

Fair Use policies are put in place to make sure that one person isn’t ruining the experience for all other customers. If a heavy-internet user continues after warnings, they may have their speeds restricted at peak times, their service suspended, or in worst case scenarios, have their service terminated.

… Normal internet usage is perfectly fine and will not impact broadband speeds for either yourself or other customers. Anything from day-to-day surfing, checking emails and reasonable downloading/streaming is perfectly fine – but downloading several huge files such as HD movies each day, particularly at peak evening times, is unfair, and will most certainly impact the network performance.

Extracts from Airband Fair Use Policy

So for those looking to embark on massive binge sessions for all those TV shows on Netflix and Amazon that they’ve not been able to for years there seems to be a caveat that do this too much you might find your speeds impacted and thus dropping from really good HD back to SD resolutions – but without exact detail on the FUP its difficult to say.

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References

  1. ^ Shifnal area (www.airband.co.uk)
  2. ^ Login (www.thinkbroadband.com)
  3. ^ Register (www.thinkbroadband.com)

Airband Wireless Rural Broadband Network Goes Live in Shropshire UK

The first customer has officially gone live on Airband‘s new fixed wireless “superfast broadband” (30Mbps+) service in Shropshire, which forms part of last year’s new GBP11.2m Connecting Shropshire contract that will see the network being rolled out reach an additional 14,000+ premises by 2020.[1][2] The contract was first signed in July 2017 (here[3]) and will take place alongside the scheme’s existing deployments of FTTC[4]/P technology with Openreach[5] (BT), which together are working to ensure that 98% of premises (homes and businesses) in Shropshire can access a 30Mbps+ capable broadband service by around the middle of 2020.

Funding Split of the GBP11.2m Contract
Airband[6] – GBP1.4m
Shropshire County Council – GBP2.24m
Broadband Delivery UK[7] – GBP5.29m
Marches LEP – GBP2.27m

The first transmitter on Airband’s new network in the area was officially installed in December 2017 (here[8]) and this was intended to serve 300+ premises around parts of the Sheriffhales and Shifnal parishes, as well as other communities further east (e.g. Tong).

As a result it will not come as much of a surprise to confirm that the first customer connection has now also gone live in Shifnal. IT security manager Andrew Lee and his wife, Sulayma, who live in a tiny rural village, are the first to be installed with superfast broadband under the initial deployment phase. The couple say they’ve been awaiting faster broadband for four years.

Andrew Lee told ISPreview.co.uk:

“We live in a tiny village with just 46 houses three miles from Shifnal, close to Cosford airbase but our communications have always been poor. When BT upgraded the exchange in Albrighton it didn’t make any difference to us, so we were really keen to get a better connection with Airband. It’s a challenging location so installation wasn’t straightforward.

I think this is because we are in a valley and it took a while to establish line-of-sight connection and also because our house is a listed building. They were very patient and thorough and to be honest I’m overjoyed with the results. Before our Airband connection, we had download speed of 2.5 Mbps.

Streaming stuff was awful – it was always buffering, and working from home was almost impossible. Now we have 30 Mbps and I am able to work from home when I need to.”

Dave Lloyd, Airband’s Project Manager, said: “Rural Shropshire suffers with some of the poorest broadband speeds in the UK, and we are delighted to be playing a significant role in turning this situation around.

This key milestone highlights the progress we’re making to help connect rural residents across the county. The project will be going live in five phases. Phase 1 of the project is due to complete in Spring and involves 28 transmitter sites.

During this period, Airband will be making Superfast broadband available to 7,000 homes. Further areas will be going live incrementally as the network is created.”

The new service requires that a small receiver is attached to individual properties, which enables them to connect to the Line-of-Sight (LOS) wireless network. Customers typically pay from GBP10 per month for a basic 30Mbps (2Mbps upload) service with a 10GB usage allowance, 12 month contract and GBP99 one-off installation fee.

Meanwhile the top package costs GBP42 for an unlimited 30Mbps (4Mbps upload) connection.

Airband Wireless Rural Broadband Network Goes Live in Shropshire UK

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References

  1. ^ Airband (www.ispreview.co.uk)
  2. ^ Connecting Shropshire (connectingshropshire.co.uk)
  3. ^ here (www.ispreview.co.uk)
  4. ^ FTTC (www.ispreview.co.uk)
  5. ^ Openreach (www.openreach.co.uk)
  6. ^ Airband (www.ispreview.co.uk)
  7. ^ Broadband Delivery UK (www.gov.uk)
  8. ^ here (www.ispreview.co.uk)