£1.4 million broadband boost for Shropshire villagers
An extra 650 homes and businesses in the north of Shropshire are set to benefit from superfast broadband.
As part of a new project, a £1.4 million contract has been awarded to Airband to provide superfast broadband to properties in the rural areas around Ellesmere and Oswestry over the next two years.
The cash is part of the Marches and Gloucestershire Viable Clusters Broadband Project, which has been awarded to Herefordshire Council by Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs.
They will administer the project on behalf of Shropshire Council.
The area covered by the new project were not projected to benefit from Shropshire Council’s existing contracts, and the deployment is additional to the current contract that Shropshire has with Airband which is delivering fixed wireless access to over 14,000 premises.
Nic Laurens, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member with responsibility for broadband, said: "Superfast broadband is essential for operating in today’s economy.
"It enables a business to connect with their customers, opens up new markets, and creates new jobs for local residents. I’m delighted that this additional investment will bring increased broadband speeds to businesses and local residents in areas that might have missed out otherwise.
“As part of the Connecting Shropshire broadband programme, Airband has already made superfast broadband available to over 6,800 premises in the council area.
"I look forward to seeing the progress of this exciting new technology variant that is very much moving towards the government’s aspiration for ‘full fibre’ broadband, which will be challenging in rural counties such as Shropshire.
“The Connecting Shropshire Team, working with partners, has once again brought about a successful outcome for our communities following a competitive bidding process for funds.
"As always, we’re not resting on this outcome, but will continue to work towards our aspiration of providing all our communities with access to superfast broadband.”
Rural affairs minister Lord Gardiner said the money is to make sure rural communities are not left behind.
He added: "It is excellent to see more rural areas such as Shropshire benefitting from connections to fast and reliable broadband. Rural areas should not be left behind in the connectivity slow lane, missing out on the opportunities high speed broadband can bring. Thousands of residents and businesses across the Marches will benefit.
“The funding made available through the Rural Broadband Infrastructure Scheme champions our countryside communities and businesses by opening up access to broadband in some of the hardest-to-reach areas.”