Government-Funded LTE To Boost Superfast Broadband Coverage In Swindon

Swindon council recommends LTE-powered ‘fixed wireless’ to plug gaps in town’s superfast broadband coverage

LTE could be used to increase superfast broadband coverage in Swindon from 80 percent to 99.4 percent after UK Broadband (UKB), also known as ‘Relish’, was recommended as the preferred supplier by Swindon Borough Council.

The Council and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) have both pledged £1.5 million to extend coverage to areas of the Wiltshire town not covered by existing commercial or government-assisted rollouts.

UK Broadband has operated a ‘fixed wireless’ service in Swindon since 2012 and launched the ‘Relish’ service in London last year, delivering speeds of up to 65Mbps using 3.5GHz and 3GHz spectrum to the centre of the capital.

LTE broadband

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERACouncillors say UKB’s proposal to extend its network in Swindon would not only cost less than the allocated budget, but would also cause the least amount of disruption as there would be no need for road closures to lay fibre cables.

“I will be encouraging my cabinet colleagues to back this proposal as it is an important step in our ambition to make Superfast Broadband available across the whole of the borough,” said councillor Garry Perkins, cabinet member for the economy, regeneration and skills. “We know some of our rural communities have had a raw deal in terms of fast broadband provision and we want to change that. By making this investment, in conjunction with the Government, this project will bring significant benefits to both residents and businesses.

“The fact that we should be able to achieve so much without using all the money available gives me confidence that we can make 100% coverage a reality in the not too distant future.”

The cabinet will meet next week to discuss the proposals and information on specific areas will be released after the contract is signed.

LTE has long been touted as a way of extending superfast broadband coverage to areas too expensive or complex to connect to fibre. The government has committed to extending fibre coverage to 95 percent of the UK population by 2017, but is also looking at other technologies, such as satellite, to push this figure closer to 100 percent.

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