Cheap and fast broadband offer for rural Uttlesford

SLUGGISH broadband and internet drop-out frustrations could be a thing of the past for small businesses and thousands of people living in Uttlesford after a new service was launched this week.

Jobs could also be created in rural areas of the district, say business leaders, after radio broadband supplier Buzcom officially unveiled its widespread FibreWiFi service.

With around 80 per cent of Uttlesford classified as ‘rural’, internet users have had to put up with slow or no traditional broadband coverage. Uunreliable dial-up internet and expensive satellite broadband have been their only options.

However, they could soon be whizzing along at faster average speeds of 25MB per second. The service has already been introduced in the Maldon district and 94 per cent of people applying for it have been successfully connected.

Managing director of Buzcom, Gary Disley, said: “We’re delighted to be bringing the FibreWiFi’s super fast service to Uttlesford.

“We’ve had great success across Maldon and we look forward to be able to supply a much improved broadband service for thousand of the people in Uttlesford.”

Uttlesford District Council has backed the scheme with �30,000, which has been used to pay for transmitters to provide widespread coverage.

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Cabinet member for environmental services, Cllr Susan Barker, said the scheme would be of “great benefit to many residents and business”. And she pointed out that the service is not just for people who live in the rural parts of the district – it is also available to people in the larger towns and villages.

Unveiling of the scheme has also excited business leaders. Development manager of the Federation of Small Businesses, Keith Brown, said his organisation has been supporting the scheme from the start – and noted that it has “delivered beyond expectations”.

“We are delighted that has been made available in Uttlesford,” he said. “Fast reliable broadband is essential for businesses and cuts out the frustration.

“It will create jobs locally and is a help to the rural economy – high-tech companies would not be paying rent in rural areas if they can not get a good broadband service.”

Sir Alan Haselhurst MP has long been an advocate of faster broadband speeds. He said: “I think it is terrific that a sparsely populated rural district covering a large area now has 21st century connectivity.

“It is a breakthrough that the whole of the district can be effectively connected at competitive prices.”

He added: “This service can help create employment locally, as well as enabling a lot of businesses to prosper in our area.”

Hatfield Heath-based marketing and design company Juice Creative Ltd is one of the first businesses in the district to benefit from the service.

Online director Craig Mulley said: “FibreWiFi has allowed us to maintain our rural location whilst increasing our productivity. Due to the constraints of distance from the exchange other landline providers could not compete.

“A great benefit is the ability to upload and download at the same speed which is unheard of amongst other traditional telecom providers at the price point offered by FibreWiFi.”

The radio broadband scheme was initially discussed by the economic development group of Uttlesford Futures, the district’s Local Strategic Partnership of public, voluntary an private sector organisations led by UDC

The cheapest package will be �12.25 per month, which would give a monthly usage allowance of 40GB and an average speed of 25MB per second. There will also be a 50MB per second option.

Anyone who wants to sign up for Buzcom’s radio broadband service should e-mail giving their name, address and postcode.

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