Broadway Partners, an award winning telecoms company providing high quality broadband to rural parts of the UK, has announced the launch of a £2m scheme, part-funded by a commercial loan from Monmouthshire County Council, to support the delivery of Gigabit networks across the whole county.
Broadway’s objective is to provide a competitive source of gigabit backhaul in rural areas, thereby stimulating investment at the village level where connectivity is most needed. The network’s use of both microwave and fibre will ensure exceptional value for money as well as high speed of deployment, with first connected customers expected within weeks, and overall completion of the county-wide network within 18 months.
The network will be designed and built to Carrier Grade standards of speed, reliability and resilience and, being Open Access, will be of benefit to local ISPs needing access to affordable backhaul, as much as to mobile operators planning to extend 4G and 5G coverage into rural areas. The network will also provide gateways for IoT (Internet of Things) connectivity, with potentially enormous benefits for a wide range of people, from householders, farmers and landowners to small businesses, logistics companies and providers of public services.
Broadway has been established in Monmouthshire since 2017 when it first tested the limits of TV WhiteSpace (TVWS) radio in a Council-supported pilot programme. A series of successful competitive tenders in 2018 and 2019 for the delivery of Next Generation Access (NGA)-compliant superfast broadband was followed by a DCMS-supported trial of pioneering 60GHz Mesh radio, delivering Gigabit connectivity to the ‘left behind' village of Llanddewi Rhydderch in the course of a single week. Building on this pioneering initiative, Broadway has plans for more than 10,000 homes and businesses across the county to be ‘Gigabit-capable’ within the next three years.
Michael Armitage, CEO of Broadway Partners said:
This agreement, for Monmouthshire Council to provide loan funding to a special purpose vehicle (SPV), has been a year in the planning and execution, is an important step forward for the Council, breaking the mould of conventional thinking around digital infrastructure, and helping to bring forward the vision of Gigabit for all by 2025.
Cllr Phil Murphy, Cabinet Member for Resources and a standing member of the Council’s Investment Committee, said:
When Broadway approached us with this idea, we could see the potential value for the oucnty very clearly, not just in the attractive financial returns to the council from this investment, but also in the indirect benefits that will come from enhanced digital connectivity. This project will further encourage increased inward investment to the county; it will boost the productivity of homeworkers and businesses, and it will help make the delivery of public services even more efficient.