DCMS has announced the successful bidders for the £10m fund it put forward to try and encourage innovation in delivering superfast broadband to the final 5% of the UK. The funding is going to eight shortlisted pilots which will explore ways of expanding broadband coverage in the most rural areas. This is not aimed at just exploring technologies that can be used, but also at ways of financing broadband expansion, and operating models which might help join smaller rural networks together to form bigger networks.
"Our nationwide rollout is progressing at a terrific rate and each week superfast speeds are becoming a reality for tens of thousands of homes and businesses in rural areas across the UK. We know how important this has become which is why we are investing £10m in these pilots to explore how we can extend coverage beyond the 95% of the UK we are on track to deliver by 2017."Sajid Javid, Culture Secretary
The successful projects and their areas are listed here:
|AB Internet||Wireless||50Mbps hybrid fixed line / fixed wireless superfast broadband network.||Wales||£847,650|
|Airwave||Wireless||Demonstrate how 4 different next-gen wireless systems will work: Wi-Fi at 2.4GHz, Point-to-multipoint fixed wireless at 2.4GHz or 5.8GHz, LTE small cells, TV white space.||North Yorkshire||£1,564,600|
|Quickline||Wireless||Test a range of line of sight, near line of sight and non-line of sight technoloigies combined with a BDUK foucher scheme.||North Lincolnshire||£2,054,000|
|Avanti||Satellite||Pilot a new superfast satellite broadband wholesale platform delivering a 30Mbps service using Ka-band satellites.||Northern Ireland & Scotland||£885,640|
|Satellite Internet||Satellite||Use Ka-band satellite uplink/downlink for backhaul of local wireless networks and directly to customer CPE.||Devon & Somerest||£175,125|
|Call Flow||Fibre, fixed wireless, SLU||Test a range of hybrid solutions to achieve NGA, using sub-loop unbundling (SLU), build a significant fibre network to connect the SLU cabinets, use FTTP and fixed wireless for last-mile connection.||Hampshire||£1,194,145|
|Cybermoor||Financial model||Financing through social investment||Northumberland||£449,997|
|MLL||Operating model||Aggregating small wireless networks into a common wholesale OSS/BSS platform.||Kent||£957,900|
The range of projects being funded is good to see, and it's possible that going forward some of these could be combined to form a usable solution. This might include the work on aggregating smaller networks which could be combined with innovative technologies that could provide an affordable connection to remote villages and properties.