This week is certainly a week when Devon and Somerset are dominating the news, as some £4.6m of public money has been awarded to deliver superfast broadband across Dartmoor and Exmoor.
The firm charged with delivering superfast broadband is AirBand and they will be utilising a fixed wireless network to serve some 5,800 premises by the end of 2016.
"We are delighted that Airband has been chosen to roll out superfast broadband across the Dartmoor and Exmoor National Parks. They were selected for their innovative approach to delivering broadband in remote areas.
This contract announcement represents the next big step towards our aim of achieving 100% coverage across the region. By the end of 2016, many more homes and businesses across Dartmoor and Exmoor will be able to access superfast broadband speeds of 24Mbps or more. People will be able to benefit from this innovative technology and faster internet connection speeds, enhancing their lives and productivity respectively."Councillor Andrew Leadbetter, Cabinet Member for Economy and Growth for Devon County Council
The 5,800 premises represents around 1% of the premises in Devon and Somerset and should build on the existing phase 1 contract. Of course the main phase 2 contract will now have to wait for the open procurement process to complete, but given the previous concerns over speed of deployment, a leaning towards another fixed wireless solution or a mixed technology one looks very likely.
While there is no precise kit or frequency information apparently Airband are to deploy a solution "which is designed to overcome physical conditions such as trees, hills or structures". Speeds of radio solutions capable of 100 Mbps are mentioned, though it is not clear if this refers to per receiver or per sector on the mast.
"Our extensive knowledge of deploying services in the Welsh hills has given us experience and insight into dealing with the geographical challenges that we will come across in the National Parks and our use of a high proportion of existing structures and buildings to build a robust network will reduce planning issues and time lags for delivery. Our solution uses state of the art data radio technology with radios capable of up to 100Mbps in place of fibre, ensuring high speed connection where fibre is not available."Redmond Peel, Managing Director of Airband