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Delight as ultrafast broadband rolled out to Shropshire village

By Mat Growcott | Bridgnorth | News | Published: | Last Updated:

Ultrafast broadband has come to a village near Bridgnorth as part of a county-wide programme.

Airband's Shropshire Community Ambassador Andy Chaloner (centre) with Pheasant Manager and Head Chef Mark Harris (second right), Manager Front of House Sarah Cowley (right), Parish Clerk Bobby Jarvis (left) and Cllr Robert Tindall, at The Pheasant, Neenton. Photo: Chas Breton

Airband's fibre network is now live in Neenton, allowing speeds of up to 100 Mbps.

The Connecting Shropshire project, part of the Government's superfast broadband roll out, means houses in Neenton will see up to 50 times the speed they were used to.

The Pheasant at Neenton is a community-owned pub, and Airband is providing a free connection for the pub as part of its commitment to community values and better connectivity for rural communities.

John Pickup, chairman of Neenton Parish Meeting and Neenton Community Society which owns and operates the Pheasant, said he was delighted the village will be the first site for Airband’s new rural fibre deployment.

“Neenton is a go-ahead, collaborative community – we work together for the common good, so we’re very excited about being able to have ultrafast broadband," he said. "Having a free connection for the pub which is our community hub is the icing on the proverbial cake.

“Ultrafast connectivity really will transform things round here and enable people to work remotely and make use of all kinds of software and applications that they couldn’t before.”

Airband is delivering ultrafast fibre broadband to 40 clusters across Shropshire in the final stage of its contract with Connecting Shropshire. It has delivered superfast connectivity to 10,500 homes and businesses and this ultrafast rollout will deliver connectivity to a further 2,200 premises.

Dave Lloyd, head of projects at Airband, said that he was delighted with how smoothly the process had gone.

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“Bringing ultrafast to Neenton represents everything that Airband is about – we are transforming connectivity for people and communities who deserve better," he said.

"It’s so rewarding to be able to provide such a vast improvement in broadband speeds and the reaction and appreciation from the villagers here has been incredible.

“We have already started planning and surveying for the remaining clusters. And when we build our ultrafast networks, we use existing infrastructure wherever possible, which means we can set up an ultrafast fibre network very rapidly.

“Once we start building a network in an area, the process from ordering to installation should take just a few weeks."

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Airband’s fibre roll-out in Shropshire includes premises in Astley Abbotts, Barrow, Bicton, Hodnet, Llanfair Waterdine, Market Drayton, Pimhill, Prees, Sheriffhales and Tong. All clusters are expected to be live by early 2021.

Lee Chapman, Shropshire Council portfolio holder for transformation and digital infrastructure, said: “I’m really glad to see that Airband are integrating ‘full fibre’ technology into their deployment plans. Access to ultrafast broadband is something we know the Government is eager to support in rural areas. As the roll-out of fibre networks progresses through 2020, we expect Airband to be able to offer more fibre connections to other premises along the way.”

The project to deliver better connectivity to Shropshire is supported by the Marches LEP, which secured more than £8m of Growth Deal funding specifically to improve access to high speed broadband in Herefordshire, Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin.

Mandy Thorn, Chairman of the Marches LEP, said: "It's great to see this technology being rolled out in Shropshire. We know that a lack of connectivity hinders business growth and this demonstrates how the LEP is delivering real change to rural communities.”

Robert Tindall, Shropshire Councillor for the Brown Clee division, said: “This is great news for Neenton, and The Pheasant in particular. One thousand premises in my electoral division already have access to a superfast broadband connection, thanks to Shropshire Council’s Connecting Shropshire broadband programme. Over the next 12 months, 100 homes and businesses in my division are expected to gain access to Airband’s ultrafast broadband networks.”

Mat Growcott

By Mat Growcott
Reporter - @MGrowcott_Star

Shropshire Star reporter

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