A new project aimed at improving broadband for 40,000 people and more than 2,500 businesses in the rural West Midlands was launched last Friday.
The announcement includes a new agreement with Worcester-based Airband Community Internet, which will provide high-speed coverage across towns in Herefordshire, Shropshire and Worcestershire.
Benefiting from a £200,000 investment from the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE), it is anticipated that the pilot system will provide universal 2Mbit/sec wireless broadband access across a 40 square mile patch between Leominster, Ludlow and Tenbury Wells.
There are also plans to offer companies in this area a bespoke package that will see them benefit from a 10Mbit/sec service – ideal for hi-tech businesses and especially those operating in digital media, global manufacturing and e-commerce.
Peter Pawsey, executive chair of the Rural Regeneration Zone, said: ’Using our expertise in RDPE funding, we managed to secure £200,000 from the European Economic Recovery Programme towards the pilot and this will be used by Airband to provide high-speed broadband over 40 square miles.
’This Ludlow, Leominster and Tenbury Wells “triangle” has traditionally been prone to unreliable services and, in some cases, no provision whatsoever. By 2013, we would envisage more than 250 companies successfully signed up [to the new service], making the project self-sufficient in its own right.’