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Parts of Norfolk gain faster broadband via Wireless ISP
Monday 28 November 2011 09:24:57 by Andrew Ferguson

A new wireless ISP has launched with an offer of free installation for the first 200. The service uses a fixed link from Norwich airport to a transmitter near Marsham that then rebroadcasts out to the local area, with service currently available in Aylsham, Cawston and Reepham, though the providers website shows more places being covered, so do check by using their online contact form or calling them.

The service offers four packages, a basic 3 Mbps service with 10 GB monthly allowance for £15.99, and the top of the range package offers 10 Mbps downstream, 3 Mbps upstream and unlimited usage (subject to fair use policy) for £50.99 a month. The install will require the mounting of a small external antenna on the property that has line of sight to the Marsham mast.

The fair use policy is fairly standard apart from the phrase 'Please note that some activities, such as using peer to peer or file sharing software, may contravene these laws. Under our terms and conditions, any illegal use of your service will be a breach of your contract and will allow us to end your service.'. While its common knowledge that a lot of peer to peer activity concerns downloading and uploading of material that infringes on the materials copyright, the actual use of the software in itself is in no way illegal. The second part about illegal use of the service and termination of service though is common to all UK providers.

This WISP is a development between Norfolk Rural Community Council, AF Affinity and InTouch Systems, and has been setup with £37,000 of funding from Defra and the EU. This funding is not from the BDUK pot of which Norfolk has been awarded £15 million.

The resurgence in popularity of fixed wireless providers is not unlike back in 2003 before basic ADSL coverage was widespread. With BDUK based projects perhaps two years away from actual service delivery on the ground, and in some rural areas the 2 Mbps minimum may be met by satellite subsidies, so a reasonable wireless service could prove preferable.


Posted by amips over 5 years ago
I'll bet the ping rate is poor though.
Posted by Stalks over 5 years ago
A lot better than infinite, ie. no internet. Which is what this service should be catering for.
Posted by arcturus over 5 years ago
Why would the ping rate be poor? I run a small wisp and our pings are limited only by our internet backhaul provider so are no better or worse than anyone else. The ping times within our wireless network are, i think, quite good. For example the ping time to a distant radio from my office is 3ms. Is that relly that bad?
Posted by SlimJ over 5 years ago
@amips - I'm on VFast WISP, pings are generally lower than my old ADSL connection, as low as 8ms. I don't think that's very poor myself.
Posted by timmay over 5 years ago
Speeds and pricing are very similar to 3G mobile broadband. Having said that 3G coverage is poor in Norfolk so hopefully this brings much needed faster services to those in rural slow-spots in their coverage area.

They have a fibre optic connection in Norwich. So ping times will be good as this network is a combination of fibre and fixed wireless (WiMax?/AirMax?).
Posted by rian over 5 years ago
The fixed wireless approach is very cost effective comparing to 3G and satellite. I think even WiFi 802.11n with proper antenna can cover a few miles distance.
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