Wednesday, 15 June 2016 04:58

Wireless broadband connects villages

Written by  Ruralcity Media
Wireless broadband connects villages

TWO Essex villages are among the first to benefit from wireless technology bringing superfast broadband to rural communities.

The latest Wireless-to-the-Cabinet (WTTC) equipment is making superfast broadband available in Broxted and Brick End as part of the Superfast Essex broadband programme.

A total 170 homes and businesses now have access to the fibre network in the two villages.

The technology was installed for the first time in Essex instead of the usual Fibre-to-the-Cabinet (FTTC) link to avoid digging up several miles of local narrow roads.

It is one of a variety of innovative technologies used by BT network company Openreach to expand the reach of superfast fibre broadband.

WTTC is being considered to help the Superfast Essex programme reach further remote rural locations, which do not yet have a superfast broadband service.

Essex County Council deputy leader Kevin Bentley said it was great to see new and innovative approaches being used to bring the superfast network to rural communities.

"This wireless approach has the potential to help us provide the same broadband access to some of the more difficult-to-reach areas of the county."

The WTTC technology is capable of providing broadband download speeds of up to 80Mbps

It uses a small football-sized transmitter dish to beam radio waves to a receiving antenna nearly 2.5 miles to two green fibre broadband cabinets serving the villages.

Tony Smith, of Openreach, said: "We were determined to find a way to make superfast fibre available to these villages.

However, the cost and disruption caused by laying several kilometres of new duct and fibre made the usual 'Fibre- to-the Cabinet' operation prohibitive.

Mr Smith said the microwave link uses a dedicated radio spectrum so there was no possibility of the signal being lost or interfered with.

"For people using broadband in the villages, it will be exactly the same as if they were connected using fibre optic cables in the ground."

Customers' premises were connected up to the fibre cabinet in the usual way so there is no need for any special equipment in the home.

WTTC technology has so far only been deployed by BT in a limited number of other locations, including Suffolk, North Yorkshire and parts of South West England.

The Superfast Essex programme is on track to reach 120,000 homes and businesses by 2019, providing superfast broadband access to 95% of the county.

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