Industry sector: Residential and business (rural broadband)

Location: Norfolk

Services: Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) to the premise

InSpired Rural Broadband Solution

It is well understood that a lack of rural broadband continues to be an issue for residents and businesses across the UK despite it being regarded as the fourth utility. Yet many projects are highlighting innovative ways of how super and ultra-fast services are being delivered to these overlooked communities. None more so than the forward thinking Diocese of Norfolk which founded WiSpire in order to address the broadband needs of the rural communities across the county.

Broadband That will Bring the Community Together

WiSpire, which was set up around four years ago, aims to provide better broadband services to the whole of the county as opposed to just the densely populated areas. Its other objective was to make the church more relevant to modern day living and to find alternative ways to bring the community together. In order to do this, WiSpire built an innovative fixed wireless access (FWA) network which makes use of the Church’s assets by placing the active equipment in the churches themselves.

This wireless network, combined with fibre optic cable and ADSL connections, is using the parish churches as a platform to deliver high speed broadband to the county’s businesses, schools and residents in areas where services were slow at best.

Upgrading to Make the Network Fit for the Future

In 2014, Wispire reviewed its network build arrangements and selected ITS Technology Group as its new partner. The first priority for ITS was to audit the network, which identified a number of issues. ITS put together a series of recommendations which WiSpire has accepted will make significant improvements to the robustness and reliability of the infrastructure, making it capable of delivering up to 100Mbps services. These upgrades are now underway.

WiSpire, working with ITS, the Diocese and its new commercial partner, regional publisher Archant, a marketing specialist, will be a strong team to take the business forward. WiSpire has ambitions to expand across Norfolk in order to offer services to other communities without adequate broadband, as the Diocese has a footprint of churches that will enable the infrastructure to be rolled out more readily.

Steve Maine, CEO, WiSpire said: “ITS, our technical partner, has delivered some really good technical and practical ideas in order to improve the existing infrastructure, and will add significant value to our expansion plans. It will add redundancy, has developed the network design, and will ensure the infrastructure can cope with demands now and in the future.”

Better Broadband Supports WiSpire’s IT Solutions

With faster, more reliable broadband infrastructure, WiSpire’s IT solutions business will be better facilitated and supported. It offers a number of managed services to businesses and schools that have taken up a broadband service, including VoIP (Voice over IP), as well as hardware such as tablets. 

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