The National Rural Conference 2024

The Rural Services Network (RSN) is thrilled to announce the National Rural Conference 2024, taking place from 16th to 19th September. This virtual event, accessible via Zoom, is the premier gathering for senior officers, members, policymakers, and rural service professionals.
Further information and booking details can be found here

Conference Spotlight: A full fibre future for all

Reliable, high-speed connectivity has never been more in demand as we become increasingly reliant on a broadband service that supports not only our work, but also our home lives. From Teams and Zoom calls and streaming HD films on demand through to online gaming or connecting our smart homes to more and more devices and systems - we all use and need the internet.

While gigabit capable (up to 1000Mbps) full fibre broadband is becoming increasingly standard in most major towns and cities – usually with a wide choice of providers and packages - rural communities are at risk of being left behind by commercial builds, having to remain reliant on existing sub-standard part-fibre/part-copper networks. Unfortunately, the sheer geography of these communities makes building new future proof full fibre networks to them difficult and potentially expensive, resulting in at best a lack of choice and at worst a lack of suitable service completely.

But there is good news! A number of altnets (alternative network builders) like SWS Broadband are taking on this challenge and are determined to deliver lightning-fast broadband services to those hardest to reach customers.

SWS Broadband has been delivering reliable broadband services to rural communities across Shropshire and Mid Wales since 2005, initially through the use of Fixed Wireless Access – which uses radios and masts to deliver a signal to the hardest to reach areas – but more recently through a full fibre solution.

We are currently building our own Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) network, delivering broadband at speeds of up to 900Mbps directly into homes and businesses across rural Shropshire. Fast, uncontended, reliable internet access that meets our customers’ needs today, while future-proofing the properties of the future.

We are a registered supplier with the Government’s Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme. That means that on behalf of our customers we can access Government vouchers in order to help fund the cost of building a brand new, future-proofed network that will bring full fibre broadband to those rural premises at risk of being left behind by a regular commercial build.

At the National Rural Conference in September, we will be discussing our commitment to ensure that rural communities have access to reliable, gigabit capable full fibre broadband, the complexities of building to and supporting those communities and what more is needed to ensure full UK coverage is achieved.


The conference this year is supported by NICRE, and sponsored by BT, Gemserv, Northern Powergrid and SWS Broadband

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